It’s the start of the semester and you need your textbooks. You could go to the library and line up for hours to shell out hundreds of dollars on them. Or you could just launch an app, press a couple buttons, and have a hexacopter drone deliver rental books right to your location in a few minutes. That’s the service being launched in Australia with the partnership of Zookal, a textbook-rental service and Flirtey, the aerial delivery arm of the operation. The founders say their technology would let you get your books in as little as 2 to 3 minutes, and the drone would use the GPS coordinates on your smartphone to find you, as well as collision avoidance technology to navigate the skies safely. This is in contrast to the 2 to 3 days that deliveries regularly take.
They’re planning on launching in 2014 in Australia, since the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (the Australian FAA) has already allowed commercial use of drones for this type of activity. The FAA is lagging behind (what a surprise) so they’re hoping to hone their service there, before potentially launching stateside in 2015. They envision, quite reasonably we think, a future where same day deliveries are conducted routinely with aerial drones at a fraction of the time and cost, not just for textbooks but anything that fits within the vehicle’s payload.