Originally I was writing a post on drone modifications, but then I realized I was getting ahead of myself. I didn’t even explain the concept of our project. How inconsiderate of me!
Well I’ve already shown our starting points in my last post. I do wish I started these posts while I was working on this project, but I’ll summarize the best I can.
Millions of packages are delivered every day. Now that online shopping has become commonplace, faster and faster delivery is becoming a priority. Technologies such as drone delivery are being tested and could possibly be implemented into modern society. These strategies could even be better than current technologies. Consider delivery trucks having to make every single delivery by driving all the way to each destination, no matter how big or small the package is. Delivery trucks are incredibly bulky and slow, so each delivery route burns up a lot of gas and adds to the environmental damage to the Earth.
My group’s idea was similar to the blimp delivery concept done by Amazon. However, blimps are known to be quite slow, so we wanted to create a faster delivery system for smaller packages.
The issue with drone delivery is there has to be a compromise between weight and battery life. To resolve this, we came up with a drone and plane combo.
The plane acts as a “mothership” which the drone and glider will start from. Fixed-wing planes are flat on top which gives space for the drone to stay on. They are also good for flying longer distances. The plane helps with delivery by carrying the drone most of the distance to the destination. While the drone makes the delivery, it will circle around the location and wait for the drone.
The drone acts as a two-way delivery system. It can deploy from the plane with the package, fly the rest of the way to the delivery location, make the delivery, then fly back to the plane and reattach itself to the top using a simple mechanism.
The glider acts as a one-way delivery system. It will be made out of very light materials, and will be used to delivery very light packages. Since it’s “one-way” it must be made from cheap material, and must be easily manufactured. The plan is that the customer can either keep/dispose of the glider, or send it back for a minor discount.
This delivery system could be deployed straight from a warehouse, or combined with trucks which will work as base stations. This method is faster and more efficient than having large trucks delivering small packages, especially in rural areas.