In flight, the wings pivot 90 degrees, and the drone flies like a plane. This first draft of history is messy. We accept now that the Wright Brothers were the first to achieve powered, human flight, and that they did so on December 17th, 1903. They were hardly the first to experiment with flight, though, and at the time the brother's work was viewed skeptically by many rivals. In the new age of drone flight, video and the internet make success easier to prove, but it's the exact definition of success that's hard to pin down.
Government-owned Australia Post has announced its plans to trial the use of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) -- or drones -- to deliver small parcels around the country. According to the postal service, the closed-field trial, which is slated for later this year, is an important next step in testing the new technology which it hopes will result in the faster transportation of time critical items like medication, as well as simply keeping the online shopper happy. Australia Post managing director and CEO Ahmed Fahour let slip last month his interest in using drones to deliver parcels in rural Australia, saying when a driver stops at the farm gate of a property they could use a drone to deliver the mail to the door of the farmhouse, rather than complete the trip up an often long driveway. "We're excited to be the first major parcels and logistics company in Australia to test RPA technology for commercial delivery applications," Fahour said in a statement Friday. "We will put this innovative technology through its paces over the coming weeks and months to understand what it can deliver, how far it can travel, and ultimately, how our customers could receive a parcel.
Manned flight has been a staple of modern transport and logistics for over half a century -- but not without problems. Our current infrastructure for transporting people and goods in the skies has become strained with the rising demands of the globalized economy. DEEP AERO is developing a foundation for a new type of infrastructure: a drone-based ecosystem, complete with an air traffic control platform, a drone marketplace for on-demand logistics and transport, and more -- all securely stored and transacted on DEEP AERO's blockchain. The rising globalized economy can no longer be dependent upon antiquated methods and technology that was designed for the 20th century. The skyrocketing demand for global commerce and travel is limited by our capacity to transport goods and people in a timely, cost-effective way.
The infrastructure to support traditional deliveries has been strained ever since the growth in online orders. What's more, the projected growth will exceed anything UPS, FedEx and the like can currently support. Because of that, companies like Amazon have been working on both an air-drop solution using drones to autonomously drop packages at customers doors, while others have been working on delivery robots. That's why some believe autonomous UAVs and robots might work together on the delivery trucks of the future. I talked to two people who care quite a lot about what this all means from the Engadget stage at CES2017: Paul Dragos, a flight trainer for FAA certification at UXV University and Henry Harris-Burland, the marketing head of Starship Technologies, a company that makes a delivery bot.
Drone-based deliveries are quickly moving out of the realm of science fiction. Amazon, 7-11 and a host of startups are already toying with the idea. Now, UPS, one of the biggest parcel delivery services on the planet, is testing a system that will drop packages at your door while the driver moves on to the next house. That last bit of distance between a UPS driver's van and the recipient's door is the least efficient portion of the entire shipping process. In fact, UPS figures that if it can cut just one mile from the 66,000 routes its drivers cover every day, the company could save upwards of $50 million annually.