If you're like me and you're sick of having packages hurled onto your balcony to be rained on for days, or dropped back at the post office because it's all too hard, the prospect of drone delivery is pretty exciting.
There are problems with it though. Where does the drone know where to dump your goods? How do you prevent them from being stolen before you bring them inside, and what if the drone comes into contact with your kid or pets as it's making a delivery?
A pair of Australian engineers say they've solved those problems with their new Skynet delivery drones. Their drones are programmed to drop deliveries in a special net that can be positioned high up and away from obstacles, children, and fences. Once the package is received, the net locks up so no one but the owner can get to the goods.
As Nick Lavars at Gizmag points out, while the delivery drones of Amazon and Google are getting all the attention, neither company has announced how the items will actually be delivered. What if, like me, you don't have a front porch?
"These drop it into your yard, which is no good if you live in an apartment," one of the Skynet team, Clinton Burchat, told Lavars. "I thought, this whole system would be better if you could drop the delivery into a net. But it was a question of accuracy, as GPS is nowhere near accurate enough."
So electrical engineer Grant Bajema was bought on to develop a system that uses GPS to guide the drone to the net, and then LED lights on each of the net's four corners allows the drone to triangulate its position in relation to the mouth of the net and move itself to be perfectly in line with it. It will scan the barcode on the edges of the net to figure out if it has the right recipient for the parcel and once confirmed, the package is dropped in and automatically locked inside.
The team says the net would need to be professionally installed to make sure it will work perfectly with their drones, and according to Gizmag, they're now building a working prototype in time for the Drones For Good event - an international competition run by the United Arab Emirates government to encourage the development of drone technology that can improve people's everyday lives. The Skynet team is one of 20 finalists in the running for the US$1 million prize.
Here's how they work:
Let's just hope they don't decide to take over the world…