How the Internet of Things Will Help Take Drones to the Next Level
In 2015, Amazon's top executive Jeff Bezos said that his company will soon take the skies to deliver packages via drones. The thought of seeing flying packages in the sky may sound fictional but it's quickly becoming a reality. Drone deliveries are currently being tested and improved constantly by the biggest tech companies in the world.
Amazon's future "30-minute deliveries"
Amazon revolutionized its logistics a couple of years ago when it introduced Amazon Prime, which is a delivery service that promises same-day delivery no matter where a person is staying within the U.S. Now, the company wants to further shorten the waiting time by using drones to make deliveries in 30-minutes or less.
If Amazon is successful in implementing its new service, it will be the first company that will be able to capitalize on delivering vital items and equipment like asthma inhalers and other emergency medicine to private individuals. Right now, the only organization that stands in Amazon's way is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which has clear rules against the flying of drones in some public areas.
Image credit: Pixabay
Solving Drones' Security Issues using the IoT
Flying drones can be used for illegal purposes, which is why the FAA is quite strict with regards to the activity. However, the FAA could be more lenient if Amazon and other tech companies utilize the power of the IoT through tracking chips that the government could monitor. There are numerous ways to track not only the packages that are being delivered but the people who maneuver the drones as well.
Drones may use Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) in order to provide the packages with better security. RFIDs use radio waves to read and capture information that's stored on a tag attached to an object. With it, packages can be identified in case they land at the wrong address. RFIDs can be paired with an app where users can scan the sticker labels to check if the boxes that arrived are the right ones or not.
Using devices to track the movement of commercial vehicles has already been implemented in some parts of the world. In the U.S., The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created a law that requires fleet companies to install electronic logging devices (ELD) in their vehicles. According to Fleetmatics who reported on the mandate, fleet companies in the U.S. have until December to install and implement ELDs for their operations. ELDs provide real-time information on the fleet driver's activities, route, and vehicle status to lessen operational mistakes and prevent unwanted accidents. The technology could be adapted for commercial drones. The only real difference between fleet cars and drones is that the latter is being controlled from a distance so there should be no problems implementing a similar tech like the ELD for drones.
Google's Project Wing
Just like Amazon, Google has been working on a secret project for the future of drones. But unlike Amazon's 30-minute deliveries, Google aims to make city deliveries in less than 2 minutes. Google calls their drone testing, Project Wing.
The heart of Project Wing lies in the drones' unusual design called Tail Sitter. The design is a combination of a helicopter and plane that takes off vertically, and then rotates horizontally while hovering. The design should make flights faster, and packages more secured through the use of an electronic tether that detects whether or not the package is about to hit something.
Intel's Myriad X
Chip manufacturing behemoth Intel recently announced their newest product Myriad X, which is a new microchip to be integrated into drones. The chip will have an advanced facial recognition system that should lessen the amount of errors that occur when companies deliver packages to people. Myriad X would be able to cross check signatures of existing customers thanks to its advanced facial recognition system. It was designed using technologies from Movidius, which was purchased by Intel last year for $400 million.
The FAA's restrictions are the only major barrier that tech companies are facing in order for drone deliveries to take off. But with some time, tech experts are certain that the IoT will be able to circumvent such restrictions and launch drone deliveries for public consumption.
This guest post was written by Alyshia Venus
Exclusively for Sky Drone.
Sky Drone builds unique drone technology that connects all kinds of unmanned vehicles (airborne or on the ground) using 4G/LTE technology. Drones can stream real-time HD video and provide low latency command & control to ground stations that may be thousands of miles away.