Picture this: you’re at home and you hear a rapping on your door. At last!– your parcel has arrived. You open the door, snatch a drone out of the air, fold it up, remove your package, unfold it and set it down only for it to take off on its merry way. Hand-delivery courier drones might be just over the horizon.
Designed in the [Laboratory of Intelligent Systems] at Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and funded by [NCCR Robotics], this delivery drone comes equipped with its own collapsible carbon fibre shield — it fold up small enough to fit in a backpack — and is able to carry packages such as letters, small parcels, and first aid supplies up to 500 g and to 2 km away!
In addition to its capacity to automate courier services, it has clear applications in search and rescue, natural disaster aid, or remote location scenarios where supplies are needed. As a proof of concept, the team had their prototype successfully delivering 3D printed part sand PCBs straight to students at EPFL all summer.
The software they’ve written enables the drone to fly autonomously, and an associated app tracks the delivery status and location in real time on mobile devices for both shippers and receivers. In the future, the team hopes to improve its collision avoidance, add in a parachute for safety’s sake, and improve its payload capacity.
Might these be the postal workers of the future, flying directly to our dwellings and almost literally handing us our parcel? Well, for more information on automated delivery systems, check out our own Dan Maloney’s awesome Automate The Freight series.
[Thanks for the tip, Qes!]