I’ve been wondering whether anyone would implement short range drones for package delivery rather than the fulfillment center to door model that Amazon seems to be pushing.
I’d expect that a drone that flew from the roof of a delivery vehicle to the drop location (door stoop, front porch) of each destination in a neighborhood would speed up the delivery process while requiring much less robust drones than the full range alternative.
The delivery vehicle is likely to have an engine and fuel tank and thus can recharge the drones after each hop. I’d expect that the vehicle could drive through the neighborhood with drones departing the top of the vehicle on ingress and then being recovered on the route out. Keeping battery weight down and path planning to a minimum would reduce the base weight of the drone. Since this weight is always carried and never contributes to payload delivered, cutting it down should be a big deal.
Until there are fully autonomous delivery vehicles, this approach would also permit a fallback where the driver delivers any packages that the drones can’t handle or where the path to the delivery drop is too complex. Once there are fully autonomous vehicles available, this would allow for FC to door delivery in most places I’d expect.
I’d love to see this sort of thing widely adopted so I’m expecting that publishing it here will make the idea publicly available and, if of interest, widely deployed.