(Source:) The Australian
It’s a concept being brought to reality in which the nets the are identified by barcodes and drone guidance is provided by LED lights, under a bold plan devised by two Australians.
Townsville-based RAAF Corporal Clinton Burchat and electrical/electronics engineer Grant Bajema have investigated how drones can release cargo under various scenarios and are building a prototype of their net solution.
The drones using this system could be piloted remotely or could fly according to a pre-configured flight plan, using GPS.
Alternative delivery models involve dropping goods into a backyard, as Amazon illustrates, or lowering them on a line, as Google has trialled. There was no guidance system and lowering goods on a line could be problematic on a windy day, Corporal Burchat said.
“I could see flaws in both models, so I set about finding a solution,” he said.
His approach was to install a delivery net at prospective destinations. Each net would be barcoded, so when it was scanned by an approaching drone, the receiver would be certain of the correct address.
He said a drone operating by GPS could be positioned to within 5m of the delivery net. A camera on the drone would lock on to LED sensors at each corner of the net and lower itself to about 1m, before releasing its cargo safely.
Mr Bajema has been employed to build the mini computer for the drone and write software to ensure the drone’s GPS positioning was accurate.
Corporal Burchat, a communications network specialist in the RAAF, a radio control hobby flyer, and an inventor, said a working prototype would be ready in about two weeks.
The net delivery system is among 18 finalists in a global competition called Drones For Good sponsored by the United Arab Emirates government. First prize is $US1 million ($1.13m).
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com