Delivery drones are increasing in popularity as of late. Websites such as Amazon promote these flyers in an attempt to persuade you to buy their products. With delivery drones handling the process, you get your item at a faster rate. However, handling your items may be a bit more complicated compared to a traditional delivery.
The Drone Race
Newer drone designs and upgrades sprout on a regular basis. Over the past couple of years alone, drones have increased their flight time and reach. This gives drones a longer distance to fly, giving them a broader delivery range. With drones acting as delivery transports, one may expect their package to arrive hours, if not minutes after hitting the ‘order’ button. Of course, that may be a long way to go.
This can be due to an increase in battery size, or a better design to increase flight efficiency. Yes, many drones – with the goal of delivery – have experimented on larger wings, a more compact design, or even using solar panels. Every company has their own drone, and everyone wants their pick to be the name in delivery.
Aggie Air Takes Flight
In Utah State University, a new contender for drone delivery may soon take everyone by storm. The Aggie Air takes a different approach in drone delivery designs. Instead of the commonly used quadcopter design, it adapts a more traditional plane design. Yes, this involves a pair of wings on each side, a tail on the end, and one spinning rotor in front. Like a traditional plane, it comes with its upsides and downsides.
First, its design may make it hard (or even impossible) to apply vertical takeoff and landing. This means it would require a runway to land and fly. This can limit the Aggie Air’s destinations and launch points. Quadcopters only require a bit of space to maneuver before they are airborne. This makes them a great tool to have in places with rugged terrain. These include islands, rural areas, or even oceanic centers. The Aggie Air may not fit the bill when it comes to these types of environment.
Traditional Design Perks
The Aggie Air, with its traditional plane design, offers many features as well. It has a longer reach, and can have, in theory a bit more battery life with gliding. It can fly like your average plane, and it can carry packages to its destination autonomously. The Aggie Air may not be able to do door-to-door landings because of its design. It can, however, drop off packages without needing to land. With this in mind, would accuracy of the package delivery be a factor? Would a drone that may rely on parachute technology be at the very least, have a bigger margin of error?
The Blood Delivery Drone of Rwanda offers a similar design. Like the Aggie Air, the Blood Drone chose a plane design over the popular quadcopter. The drone has a special launcher, which propels it into the air. This launcher bypasses the design’s requirement for a runway for takeoff. It uses a parachute parcel delivery system, which gives it the ability to return immediately after dropping off. It will not land at your door, but the package will arrive at the designated area unscathed.
Of course, the goal for these delivery drones is not mere online shopping. With increasing load weight limit for newer drones, they can deliver so much more. The Blood Drone for example delivers essential medical supplies to rural areas. Drones can also be trusted with delivering live organs or vaccinations between health centers. Newer refrigerated containers also help with this regard, as the contents retain their temperature during the entire trip.