Mailbox of the future: Drone delivery nets may soon replace postmen
The concept of the so-called Skynet drone delivery system has made it into the semifinals of the 'Drones for Good' contest in the United Arab Emirates, together with 20 other projects.
Unlike the evil computer network of the same name from the Terminator movies, the initiative by Royal Australian Air Force Corporal Clinton Burchat and electronics engineer Grant Bajema is aimed at aiding mankind.
The duo claims to have found a way to make “the hardest” final meters of drone delivery safe and error free.
“Amazon wants to land a drone in your backyard. Google wants to hover above your backyard and drop the package by [a] string. But that’s no good if you don’t have a backyard; or it could come into contact with children or pets,” Burchat said, as quoted by the Guardian.
The Aussie team has designed a barcoded, GPS-tagged net, which is to be mounted not only in backyards, but also on the balconies of apartment blocks.
According to the concept, the GPS would direct the drones to within sight of the net, while LED lights would guide the unmanned aircraft while making the drop.
“From there, they’d read the barcode on the net, confirm it’s the net that it’s looking for, and then drop the delivery,” Burchat explained.
He also said that the delivery nets would have to be installed by professionals “with basic skills to secure it to a wall and make sure it’s completely level, otherwise you won't have the accuracy that is needed for the delivery."
In an earlier interview with Gizmag website, Burchat stressed that Skynet “would be designed to work with services like Amazon and Google."
Previously, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said it will be at least four or five years before regulatory approval for drone delivery is secured.
The final stage of Drones for Good is to take place in Dubai, with a prize of $1 million awaiting the winner.
The competition is part of the United Arab Emirates' push to take the lead in the civilian drone industry, which it predicts will be worth $10 billion by 2025.