How cardboard drones could play a part in the way we do our shopping
Not the kind of cardboard drones we had in mind, but you get our drift. We mean those made from cardboard. Image by Vchal (via Shutterstock).
Online shopping: it is convenient. It makes up for the times we cannot get to Merseyway or Peel Shopping Centre. The biggest downside is waiting for your goods, and one perennial problem is the whereabouts of your order. At worst, your parcel may have missed your home or office and is sat in a delivery van or warehouse. Could cardboard drones deliver to those parts where the delivery vans cannot reach?
The idea of drones carting your worldly goods from warehouse to your home is a far from new idea. Last year, Amazon and Domino’s Pizza have experimented with drones. The next generation of drones could be made from cardboard and designed for one-off deliveries. In October 2015, DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), developed cardboard drones. Known as ICARUS (or Inbound, Controlled, Air-Releasable, Unrecoverable Systems), it is designed to vaporise on after use.
In one of DARPA’s test scenarios, ICARUS is used to deliver critical supplies to another location, then the drone’s work is done for that mission. As well as military scenarios, there is potential for civilian scenarios. Such as the delivery of pizzas, catalogue or online shopping orders. With Amazon’s experiment, the drone delivery would have been made possible with an app, from one of their reusable drones.
Imagine if cardboard drones were used to deliver pizza. Firstly, the drone could be incorporated into the pizza box and recycled. Secondly, any chips or similar parts of the drone could be returned to the pizza shop for use in subsequent cardboard drones. He or she could earn a little discount off their next order.
If used for civilian activities, such as those detailed above, this could be bad news for pizza delivery or parcel couriers. What could scupper their arrival is trying to share the airspace with already clogged up flight paths.