Cambridge Consultants, a tech research company, recently unveiled a new concept for drone delivery systems called DelivAir. The system relies on GPS tracking to quickly identify the recipients location. But even more impressive is how the drone will find the correct customer who placed the order. When the DelivAir drone is near the delivery drop off point, the customer will hold up their smartphone and the app will make the flash on the phone “flash” in a specific coded pattern. This will verify the customer via the sensor on the drone and allow the DelivAir drone to drop off the package to the customer.
Aside from business and commercial applications, the developers of this delivery concept also want to use DelivAir to deliver first aid kits to wounded persons, send emergency packages to disaster areas or deploy critical equipment to emergency sites by working with locals with smartphones.
DelivAir system features a two stage delivery process. The first step involves GPS tracking systems to find recipients via their smartphones. Once they are located, the drones switch to their optical tracking and 3D imaging/ranging instruments to locate and authenticate the recipients after they come into view.
Once the drones make contact with the recipients, all they need to do is point the flash of their mobile devices in the drone’s direction to confirm their identity. This flash will blink a coded pattern to verify the delivery and confirm the identity of the recipient. If everything checks out, the drone will lower its package to the floor and then return to base.
Cambridge Consultants senior engineer Henry Fletcher said that DelivAir is a good approximation of “instantaneous matter transportation” in the present day. According to him and his team, DelivAir’s automated features will allow drones to manage deliveries with a minimum of input from recipients. All they need to do is place their order, download the necessary apps for their smartphones and the DelivAir will take care of the rest. Cambridge Consultants took special care to automate everything for the sake of convenience.
However, the system is far from perfect. For starters, DelivAir’s security capabilities are still relatively untested, and its reliance on smartphones present a point of vulnerability.
Another problem is legislation. Although drone delivery services sound nice to consumers, they can also lead to more drone traffic, particularly in urban areas where these services are most likely to be in demand. So even if DelivAir is perfected, legislation from city governments concerned about drone collisions may impede its full application.
Despite these problems, though, the concept behind DelivAir and other similar systems is compelling. And with drone technology improving, Cambridge Consultants and other similar developers can expect a lot off demand for their systems in the not too distant future.