Today, drones are readily being used to make deliveries in the medical sector, consumer sector, and more, but security remains an issue for senders and recipients.
Delivery drones are required to make precision landings based on GPS, IR, or RTK-GPS, which can be unreliable in certain locations. There are other obstacles to drone deliveries too. Restrictions on flying over people or beyond the visual line of sight hinder companies from delivering across far distances or to locations that require passing over people. Then, if a drone does successfully make a delivery, there’s concern that items delivered by drone will be targeted for theft. Together, these issues are known as the “last mile problem.”
Drone Delivery Systems and FlytBase are working together to offer a solution to the “last mile” and security issue of drone deliveries. The companies have just announced a partnership for the development of a precision landing kit, compatible with any delivery drone, to allow for secure and precise drone delivery to AirBox Home—the world’s first smart drone delivery mailbox. With secure and precise landing, operations can be scaled with diminished thefts or damages.
FlytBase Precision Landing Kit and AirBox Home Enable Precise Drone Deliveries
Here’s how it works. FlytBase’s precision landing kit, called FlytDock, makes use of a down-facing miniature camera and software to align and land the drone on a visual marker (ArUco Tag) with centimeter accuracy. The system can be remotely managed and controlled over the internet via 4G/LTE.
With the combined FlytBase precision landing technology, and our new AirBox Kits, any drone can now deliver to AirBox Home. This new innovation will create a drone agnostic platform for last-mile secure package deliveries to AirBox Home.
—Brandon Pargoe, creator of AirBox Technology
FlytBase’s precision landing kit is being designed as a plug-and-play solution to incorporate into any drone platform. With AirBox Home, users will get secure deliveries, eliminating package theft. Senders and receivers will receive alerts that packages have arrived in their AirBox smart mailbox, further protecting packages from damage and weather conditions.
According to Nitin Gupta, CEO at FlytBase, “Precision-landing is an essential component for the success of several such autonomous deployments. With FlytDock, we have been able to assist our partners and customers looking for a robust and reliable solution for precision landing on docking/charging stations, for security, delivery, and inspection applications.”
Watch a drone powered by FlytBase software utilize computer vision techniques and dedicated landing algorithms to precisely align, approach and land the multirotor on the ArUco Tag on the ground in the video below:
Real Applications for FlytBase and AirBox Drone Delivery System
Drone deliveries have continued to advance since we last reviewed the progress of drone deliveries in 2017. A year ago, drone deliveries were taking place across the world in countries such as Iceland, Switzerland, Australia, and Tanzania. Companies such as Google and Amazon were also testing out prototype drone delivery systems. However, drone deliveries have yet to become a fully executed reality in the U.S.
A drone could provide much-needed solutions for last-mile delivery in the U.S., but there are still some legalities companies interested in drone deliveries need to work through. For example, a waiver from the FAA is required to fly a drone beyond visual line of sight or over crowds of people. Local governments have also raised concerns about privacy violations and noise disturbance that delivery drones could potentially cause when delivering items to residential areas.
Drone Delivery Systems has suggested that implementation of the FlytBase and AirBox systems could secure solutions for the healthcare sector, satisfying HIPAA security and eliminating prescription tampering. The first drone delivery program enabled by a nationwide integrated airspace system was established earlier this year to deliver medical supplies in Switzerland. It’s enabled by a nationwide integrated airspace system, or UTM (Unmanned Traffic Management system), called the Swiss U-space. The United States has yet to develop a UTM that would regulate delivery drones.
However, drone deliveries may finally become a reality in the U.S. thanks to the passing of the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Bill. The bill mandated that the FAA establish a plan to create a fully operational UTM system in the U.S. A plan for this system should be submitted within one year after conclusion of the UAS Integration Pilot Program, a program designed to assess the risks of integrating drones into the national airspace and help in the effort to develop UTM. Once a UTM is implemented in the U.S., AirBox Home systems, other smart mailboxes, and drone delivery technology could be a common sight in your own neighborhood.
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