Automated transport systems/Delivery drones

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Revision as of 00:36, 26 March 2012 by Balatro (Talk | contribs) (TacoCopter!)

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Cargo ships can carry goods from port-to-port, but these leaves the "last mile problem" of getting them from the port to the doorstep. An exciting technology that is currently emerging is autonomous flying quadrotors. These are small, lightweight flying robots that are capable of very agile flight. The technology has progressed in leaps and bounds in recent years, and their extraordinary agility can be seen in this video from MIT.

Such flying robots are often developed for military and surveillance applications, but have great potential when applied to the problem of delivering packages. MatterNet is a startup company working on making this a reality. They are focused especially in regions with inadequate roads. The MatterNet Vision video explains more.

A start-up company called TacoCopter have envisioned a more whimsical application of the technology. They want to allow people to order tacos on their smartphone at at any hour of the day or night and have them delivered by autonomous drones.

Several open-source hardware flying drones already exist: Aeroquad, MicroKopter and DIY Drones

Combined with automated logistics software to control the robots, this could create a delivery service that operates almost invisibly, without noise or congestion, uses a tiny amount of energy (solar-powered charging stations could readily meet the energy needs of the drones) and no labour at all.