Having drones is more than just a hobby these days as they are now widely used for commercial purposes. Shipping and delivery companies are thoroughly investing in research and development to maximize the potential of this device. Drone technology has been advancing rapidly, offering a wide range of possibilities in many industries.
While this technology gets more mainstream, it is expected that a variety of security and safety concerns will emerge. So in this article, we address some of these concerns and present a drone mailbox as a viable solution.
What are the Security and Safety Concerns and their Workaround?
Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Its recreational usage remains fairly unregulated and best practices in industrial operation do not have public confidence yet. With that, the management of these devices to promote safety and security has required the attention of researchers and law-making authorities.
A primary concern of drone delivery is ensuring that the drone doesn’t carry a product that could be hazardous and dangerous in any way. A good practice is to use scanners to inspect the products and that’s exactly what Dronedek includes, a sensor capable of detecting explosives and biohazards.
Dronedek takes it a step further by incorporating QR scanning and a mounted security camera inside and outside the mailbox. With these measures in place, the risk of receiving a hazardous and dangerous product is significantly reduced.
Safe delivery is all about delivering the right product at the right place while keeping the drone in good shape. As simple as it sounds, there are still numerous obstacles to overcome. One major challenge, in particular, is safe landing and that’s usually difficult in complex terrains. Some companies even suggest parachute landing but this method heavily relies on weather conditions.
Amazon offers a home delivery pad, while Dronedek also offers a secure receptacle that’s weather and thief resistant. Receptacles like this are capable of communicating with the drone and the drone docking station. Ultimately, all of these methods are Internet of Things nodes aimed at automating the future.
Another challenge is providing a continuous source of power to the drone, which is not 100% achievable with solar energy alone. This is why a sensible approach to this problem is providing a charging source at the customer’s end such as induction charging.
Obviously, delivery is not successful if the product is not obtained by its rightful owner. This could be a challenge based on the numerous circumstances at every stage of the delivery process. So, a smart solution for this is to make the receiving node advanced enough to ensure the right communication protocols.
Aside from being in constant communication with the drone and its docking station, receptacles like Dronedek also have mounted cameras for thieves. There’s a camera to monitor inside and outside the receptacle, and it even requires an encrypted passcode to unlock it—all coming from the delivery drone.
GPS communication would allow for a seamless link between the drone and the docking station, and also between the docking station and the user via a mobile app. Integrating these three vital elements greatly reduces the chances of any mishaps.
Since drones are aerial vehicles, there is a possibility for them to intervene with other aerial vehicles, which could pose a serious problem. Another issue related to this is the privacy concern of whether the drone should be allowed to fly over people’s homes. These and other similar questions call for proper legislation for this revolutionary device.
Aviation governmental bodies need to come up with a proper regulatory system to establish the protocols to deal with drone traffic. Also, they need to regulate the use of drones so hobbyists won’t fly them at any time and anywhere, compromising the security of the surrounding airspace.
With WiFi sensors and systems, drones can fly autonomously, allowing them to operate online without any human intervention. As a result, drones become highly susceptible to cyber-attacks and hackers trying to compromise their safety and security.
A large part of the solution lies on the software and firmware deployed at the drone manufacturers’ end. But at the other end of the delivery, some security measures like encryption protocols should be employed to strengthen the security further.
Drone delivery remains controversial with unsatisfactory benchmarking of best practices and corresponding regulation. How companies and legislators adapt with the concerns of the stakeholders greatly influence the future of industrial drone usage.
That said, there are dozens of locations around the States that are using drones to deliver goods already. With the growth and rising importance of automating last mile delivery, it’s safe to say that drones will surely become safer and more secure within the next few years.