John Robb thinks the next big thing is an internet of drones. And he doesn’t mean the government’s killing machines, but something more like what the US Postal Service should morph into:
DRONENET The Next BIG thing, John Robb
It’s a system that will explode in a way that is very similar to the way the Internet grew up — where connections were bought by individuals and installed one modem and IP address at a time, and where the early providers are local geeks with shelves full of modems and an expensive T-1 lines.
It’s an approach that uses “uncontrolled airspace” and incremental purchases of cheap, standards compliant pads/drones to roll itself out (very similar to the way the Internet was able to piggy back on the old telephone system).
As a result of this open approach and decentralization, it’s something that could grow VERY fast.
Here’s a simplified version of what I’m talking about:
- I put package onto a landing pad at my home.
- Drone arrives, takes package and flies away.
- Drone delivers package to landing pad at delivery location.
There’s almost nothing technically in the way of this happening right now.
Here’s how it would work in practice:
- My brother left his iphone at my house. I want to get it to him, but he lives 30 mi away (as the crow flies, 50 by driving).
- I put it into a delivery container and put it on a small landing pad outside my home.
- I order a drone on my phone and put the ID of the container into the order (I could just as easily use a drone I buy to do it P2P).
- A drone arrives 10 minutes later, picks up the container automatically.
- After a couple of hops, it arrives at my brother’s landing pad, where it drops off the container and alerts him with an e-mail/text.
- Costs? Probably less than $0.25 per 10 mi. or so. So, about $0.75 in this instance. Time? An hour or so.
Pizza delivery? Bottle of wine? How about groceries?
I saw an announcement about Aeros recently, building lighter than air cargo solutions. Why can’t they be controlled as drones, too?