Dronedek offers ‘next generation’ mailbox for drone, robotic delivery

Tested in Indiana, ‘world’s first smart mailbox’ for drone, robot and traditional mail delivery debuted on ‘Fox & Friends’

By Kerry J. Byrne

Indiana company debuts first smart mailbox ready for drone delivery.

The future of mail delivery arrived Tuesday morning on “Fox & Friends” with what co-host Lawrence Jones called “the world’s first smart mailbox.”

“This is the Dronedek, which is the next-generation mailbox,” said Dronedek founder and CEO Dan O’Toole, as he demonstrated the service outside a brick commercial building on a rainy day in Lawrence, Indiana.

Co-hosts Jones, Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt marveled at the moment of innovation from the New York City studio.

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Boots becomes first pharmacy to deliver prescriptions by drone

By Paige West 

Boots has become the first community pharmacy in the UK to transport prescription-only medicines by drones.

The flight departed from the British Army’s Baker Barracks on Thorney Island near Portsmouth and arrived at St. Mary’s Hospital on the Isle of Wight. The medicines were collected by Boots and transported to its pharmacies across the island, where they will be dispensed to patients with prescriptions for them.

Boots worked with medical drone start-up Apian to facilitate the test flight and is now assessing the future potential for drones in medicines delivery.

Rich Corbridge, Chief Information Officer at Boots, said: “Drones have huge potential in the delivery of medicines, and it is incredibly exciting to be the first community pharmacy in the UK to transport them in this way. An island location like the Isle of Wight seemed like a sensible place to start a trial of drones and their value to the delivery of medicines to more remote locations is very clear. 

“In this trial, we will be looking at how much time we can save, as well as how we can incorporate drones into our medicines supply chain to create economic efficiencies too. We want to prepare now for the wider use of this technology in the future.”

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The world’s first smart mailbox is ready for drone deliveries

DroneDek’s ‘Mailbox of the Future’ debuts next week in Indianapolis suburb

Jack Daleo

The iPhone has quickly become one of the most ubiquitous products in history, right up there with the lightbulb and gas-powered car.

It’s a short list. But Dan O’Toole thinks his smart mailbox could make the cut.

“You take a picture of your family right now and everybody’s on their iPhone — nobody’s looking at the camera, right? This has the ability to insinuate itself into the fabric of our lives every day in the same way that the iPhone has,” O’Toole, the CEO of DroneDek, told Modern Shipper in an interview in October.

At the time, O’Toole’s vision was just that — a vision. But on Monday it will finally begin to take shape when DroneDek completes the first deliveries to its “mailbox of the future” in Lawrence, Indiana. The high-tech receptacle will receive deliveries of both traditional mail and hot food that will be airdropped via drone.

DroneDek’s mailbox is built to handle delivery in all of its many forms. It boasts a list of features as long as the iPhone’s terms and conditions, but each is put to good use to make the receptacle as secure, sustainable and self-reliant as possible.

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UK to have the world’s biggest automated drone superhighway

UK to plan world’s biggest automated drone superhighway connecting cities and towns for mail package delivery

The UK is setting up the world’s biggest automated drone superhighway within two years, which will be used on a 164-mile Skyway project that will connect towns and cities.

The project, according to BBC, is part of a £273 million funding package for the aerospace sector.

Drone mail delivery to the Isles of Scilly and across Scotland is also part of other projects being planned, which will include delivering medicines to patients in remote regions.

The chief operating officer of the aviation technology company Altitude Angel, Chris Forster, said that the drone superhighway will not only be used for business logistics but will also help “police and medical deliveries of vaccines and blood samples”.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will officially make the announcement of the project at the Farnborough International Airshow. He believes the funding will “help the sector seize on the enormous opportunities for growth that exist as the world transitions to cleaner forms of flight”.

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Drones can now scan terrain and excavations without human intervention

Drone pilots may become superfluous in the future.

New research from Aarhus University has allowed artificial intelligence to take over control of drones scanning and measuring terrain.

A research project at Aarhus University (AU) in collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) aims to make measuring and documenting gravel and limestone quarries much faster, cheaper and easier in the future.

The project has allowed artificial intelligence to take over the human-controlled drones currently being used for the task.

“We’ve made the entire process completely automatic.

We tell the drone where to start, and the width of the wall or rock face we want to photograph, and then it flies zig-zag all the way along and lands automatically,” says Associate Professor Erdal Kayacan, an expert in artificial intelligence and drones at the Department of Engineering at Aarhus University.

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Airrow is automating battery and payload swapping for drones

By Brian Heater

Any given year, the real unsung highlight of re:Mars are the dozen or so startups and researchers who show off their wares on the show floor. There are always a couple of cool projects that have somehow managed to escape our radar, thus far. Los Angeles-based Airrow jumped out with a clever product offering.

The startup makes a device designed to automatically remove and replace batteries and payloads for drones. It operates similarly to a CNC machine or 3D printer, with a gantry that moves along X- and Y-axes to get the battery from the charger to the drone and back again.

The process is currently a manual one, requiring a human to swap and replace. It’s only slightly inconvenient one to one but can become a major hassle when scaling up, like, say, in the case of drone-based food delivery programs.

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Postie of the future? Royal Mail is building a fleet of 500 DRONES to carry mail to remote communities in the UK including the Isles of Scilly and the Hebrides

By JONATHAN CHADWICK

  • Royal Mail will create over 50 new postal drone routes over the next three years
  • Long term, the ambition is to deploy a fleet of 500 servicing all parts of the UK 
  • It has already successfully trialed drone deliveries over Scotland and Cornwall

Royal Mail is building a fleet of 500 drones to carry mail to remote communities all over the UK, including the Isles of Scilly and the Hebrides.

The postal service, which has already conducted successful trials over Scotland and Cornwall, will create more than 50 new postal drone routes over the next three years as part of a new partnership with London company Windracers.

They offer an alternative to currently-used delivery methods that can be affected by bad weather – ferries, conventional aircraft and land-based deliveries.

They can also take off from any flat surface (sand, grass or tarmac) providing it is long enough.  

Drones are usually thought of as small devices, but each of Royal Mail’s craft have a hefty wingspan of over 30 feet (10 metres). 

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British Engineers Reveal Ground-Breaking Electric Uncrewed Concept Vehicle

BAE Systems and Malloy Aeronautics have announced plans to explore the development of an all-electric ‘heavy lift’ uncrewed air system (UAS) as a potential new solution to deliver cost-effective, sustainable rapid response capability to military, security and civilian customers.

The all-electric powered concept vehicle will be designed with a top speed of 140 kilometres per hour and the ability to carry a class-leading 300kg payload with a range of 30 kilometres.

The cutting-edge technology could be used for a range of applications such as performing ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore movements to support military and security operations and logistics. Emitting zero carbon, the uncrewed system could help revolutionise military operations where there is a requirement to carry heavy loads, helping to keep military personnel out of harm’s way in dangerous situations or disaster zones, whilst reducing the environmental impact of our armed forces. 

The companies are exploring opportunities to collaborate on capability, design, manufacture and marketing of the concept vehicle.

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SNAPCHAT’S FLYING CAMERA

Snap takes another stab at hardware with a selfie drone called Pixy

By Alex Heath

MoreMore than five years after it released Spectacles, Snap is back with a second hardware product. And this time it flies.

Yes, Snap made a drone. Called Pixy, the small yellow puck takes off from your hand, follows you around, and captures video that can be sent back to Snapchat. It’s Snap’s attempt at making a drone that’s friendlier and more approachable than other products on the market — and it may hint at the more advanced, AR-powered future Snap is building toward.

Pixy is available online for $230 in the US and France starting Thursday. Unlike most existing drones, it’s small and light enough to fit in a pant pocket. There isn’t a controller; it takes off from and lands on an outstretched palm, and it uses six pre-programmed flight patterns that are accessible through a dial on the top of the device.

Why on earth would Snap, which primarily operates an ephemeral messaging app, make a selfie drone? It’s the first question I pose to CEO Evan Spiegel.

“Because we’re a camera company,” he tells me recently over video chat. Snap has brandished that tagline since 2016 when the company changed its name from Snapchat to Snap and released its first pair of Spectacles. “Our mission is to empower people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together. And this product does exactly that.”

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Eindhoven living lab to test five use cases for autonomous drone services over six months

The Dutch High Tech Campus Eindhoven (HTCE) in the Netherlands started the first demonstrations of autonomous drone services in March 2022. HTCE is one of the consortium partners of the EU-funded FF2020 project that is developing a state-of-the-art geospatial UAM ecosystem by incorporating UAM within the geospatial data infrastructure of cities. Besides Eindhoven, FF2020’s solutions will also be tested in another four living labs during the project: Milan (Italy), Oulu (Finland), Tartu (Estonia) and Zaragoza (Spain).

The drone operations will continue until the end of September 2022. The five use cases tested on campus focus on security support, building inspection, meal delivery, express shipping and emergency automated external defibrillator (AED) delivery.

The first use case involves the use of drones for campus surveillance to assist security personnel. In the second use case, drones will be scanning and inspecting buildings to assess their condition. The remaining three use cases concern the last-mile delivery of goods such as meals, packages and AEDs to the rural part of campus.

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Spain hosts mass drone flight tests to prepare for a future where unmanned aircraft rule the skies

Image shows drones at sunset. Researchers in Spain have conducted a mass drone flight test to trial a new traffic management system for UAVs 

By Aisling Ní Chúláin 

Some bad news is in store for those irritated by the unmistakable buzzing of electric drones: they’re not going away anytime soon. In fact, they are set to become only more ubiquitous.

If estimates from SESAR – a European partnership tasked with overhauling European airspace and air traffic management – are to be believed, by 2050 there could be close to 7.5 million personal and commercial drones zipping through European skies.

To prepare for this new reality, researchers in Spain are testing out a new system that will, hopefully, keep these drones from crashing into each other.

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A new and outlandish delivery drone concept can carry 100 pounds up to 80 miles

It uses a cargo pod as an airfoil.

By  Chris Young

The CCY-01Cyclotech

Is that a UFO?

Austria-based vertical propulsion company Cyclotech partnered with Japanese delivery firm Yamato to develop a concept for an unusual delivery drone using Cyclotech’s thrust vectoring propulsion system.

The concept aircraft, called CCY-01, flies using six of Cyclotech’s unique CycloRotors and the company says it will be capable of precision landing in confined space at the same time as handling challenging wind conditions.

Cyclotech’s cylindrical rotors spin around at high speeds while several blades alter their angle to direct thrust. The company has performed its first free flight test using its system, which allows aircraft to rapidly redirect thrust. During that flight test, it used four Cyclorotors arranged in a manner that made its aircraft look almost like a flying car with wheels instead of a traditional drone.

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