Companies announce partnership on drone infrastructure
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Drone delivery is about much more than just the drone. Just ask DroneDek and A2Z Drone Delivery.
The two companies, each of which focuses on a different piece of drone infrastructure, on Monday announced a technical integration partnership to combine DroneDek’s smart mailbox with A2Z’s second-generation Rapid Delivery System (RDS2) for drone delivery.
DroneDek’s “mailbox of the future” is a high-tech delivery receptacle featuring a drone charging station, a heated and cooled storage compartment, a full-fledged security system and a laundry list of other features. In August, the solution debuted with customers in Lawrence, Indiana.
The mailbox will now be integrated with A2Z’s RDS2, unveiled in August. It features a high-powered winch and tether capable of lifting 22 pounds of payload and lowering it from altitude.
The company also makes its own drone, the RDST, to pair with the system. But the key advantage of RDS2 is its ability to be retrofitted to just about any drone, whether it’s designed for delivery or not.
A2Z becomes the ninth organization to join DroneDek’s ecosystem of partners working on solutions for drone delivery infrastructure, which also includes firms like Hush Aerospace, portable battery startup Joule Case and facial recognition company Scylla.
“We’ve been very impressed with A2Z Drone Delivery over the last few years,” said Dan O’Toole, founder and CEO of DroneDek. “Partnerships like these are key to building the robust infrastructure needed for the future of delivery and commerce.”
DroneDek in August showcased what its technology could do with a demonstration for customers in Indiana. There, the mailbox accepted drone deliveries from local restaurants like McDonald’s and Culver’s as well as a delivery of U.S. Postal Service first-class mail.
It also completed an eye-catching pilot program last year, delivering snacks and drinks to golfers on the course at the Lakes of Taylor Golf Club in Michigan.
Aaron Zhang, CEO of A2Z, is ready to get in on the action.
“As drone delivery becomes part of mainstream logistics operations, it is imperative that service providers prioritize consumer safety in all operations,” said Zhang. “Our [RDS2] enables payloads to be deposited from altitude, keeping spinning propellers away from people and property, mitigating intrusive rotor noise and assuaging privacy concerns about drones near private residences.”
Safety and privacy concerns are among the chief factors that have kept drone delivery largely grounded. Federal Aviation Administration regulations are particular about when, where, how high and how long drones can fly. That’s created hurdles for companies looking to enter the space.
A2Z, though, promises to alleviate some of those concerns by delivering packages from about 100 feet up. That reduces noise and sightings of drones buzzing overhead, both of which have led to lawsuits claiming the aircraft are a nuisance.