I’ve already talked about Starship Technologies and who they are in a previous article, but I didn’t really get to talk too much about how they are revolutionizing the self-driving delivery system, since there wasn’t so much information available at that time.
However, before I get to that part, I would also like to discuss the idea of using drones to provide delivery services, since Starship Technologies’ project is on the other hand of the spectrum and also aims to be the main competition in this scenario.
When did companies become interested in drones?
Well, 2 years ago, Amazon made the exciting announcement that they would be developing a system that allows them to make use of drones to provide quick deliveries. The claim amazed most people, but eBay stated that something like this won’t be feasible in the long run.
Now, in 2016, Amazon, along with Google, Alibaba and Baidu have expressed their interest in developing drone delivery services. While Alibaba did conduct some tests at the beginning of 2015, there haven’t been any conclusive results yet, so we don’t exactly know what to expect from the future.
However, while this all sounds nice on paper, it’s important to keep in mind that drone delivery services have their fair share of drawbacks and challenges. Actually, I’m pretty sure that it’s these challenges that have pushed Starship Technologies to develop an alternative to drone delivery services.
So then, what problems might be stopping drone delivery services from becoming a reality?
- The main issues that needs to be addressed is one of a legal nature. According to Amazon, the drones they will use will need to utilize the low-level airspace. In theory, that sounds reasonable. However, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has declared that it’s not all that simple, since the airspace in question has to be shared with small birds, wind farms and power lines, among other things.
- Even if the drone delivery services get the approval of the FAA, there will still be the issue of overcrowding. Let’s not act like the low-level airspace near Amazon fulfillment centers won’t be completely full of drones. This can cause numerous logistical problems and raise some environmental concerns, as well.
- One last thing to consider is the safety to expense ratio aspect. After all, a drone that is capable of delivering products over a long distance is going to cost a lot. When it comes to the delivery, Amazon has thought about developing an app that texts the client 5 minutes before the drone arrives, so that he or she can go down and pick up the package, since the drone has to land. However, in sketchy neighborhoods, what will stop somebody from trying to steal the drone while it’s landing? It’s not something that might happen often, but it needs to be taken into consideration.
This is why Starship Technologies have come up with a great alternative
Self-driving robots might sound like something that is too futuristic and hard to accomplish in this day and age, but Starship Technologies made it a reality. The robot does not currently have a name, but it does have all sorts of features that will help make it a successful delivery machine.
The main idea behind it is to give the client the freedom to choose when they want the items delivered to them, thus eliminating the need to take a day off from work and spend it all staying inside and waiting for the delivery to arrive.
I do believe that this nifty self-driving robot might just be accepted and work. It’s got a great design which allows it to carry a decent amount of things and makes it small enough so that it doesn’t inconvenience pedestrians.
[ Image Credits: www.digitaltrends.com ]
Of course, the main concern would be safety, just like it is with drones. Well, it’s not very lightweight, so picking it up and running away with it is out of the question. Also, it comes outfitted with 9 cameras and a constant Internet connection. Plus, it has a built-in microphone which allows the operator of the robot to talk with the people that are around.
Stealing things from the robot will also be impossible, since only the client will be able to open the hatch with his or her smartphone.
All in all, the concept is definitely amazing and I do believe it has a chance of succeeding. In my opinion, Starship Technologies’ idea just seems safer and more socially acceptable than having drones fly all over the place.
Of course, I would be more than happy to hear what are your thoughts on the matter, so feel free to leave any insight you might want to offer in the comment section below.