Cambridge Consultants is shaping the future of deliveries with precision location and identification technology
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Reimagining the future of on-demand deliveries, product design and development firm Cambridge Consultants has developed DelivAir, a drone delivery concept that can deliver a package straight to the hands of its recipient, no matter their location.
Drone delivery systems have been publicised for some time now, but most are restricted by the need to deliver to a specific address. But drones aren’t limited by terrain or traffic, so why should they be limited to delivering to a zip or postal code?
Cambridge Consultants' vision was to make deliveries safely and directly into the recipient's hand. The company has achieved this through a drone delivery system that implements a patent pending two stage routing process. The delivery starts by using GPS to navigate to a user's smart phone location, periodically requesting secure location updates during the flight until it arrives within visual range. Then the drone switches to precision optical tracking and a 3D imaging and ranging system to both locate and authenticate the recipient.
When the drone reaches the recipient, they simply point their mobile phone flash LED to the sky which blinks a coded pattern, allowing the drone to verify that it is delivering to the correct person. The drone moves directly above this flashing LED, remaining at a safe height above ground. The package is then lowered down into the recipient’s hands, using a stabilising winch to keep the package steady, where it is then simply unhitched by the recipient and the drone returns to its base.
“Drone delivery is fast and ideal for something that is needed immediately. In that case, a consumer wants a delivery directly to them as a person – not to a location,” said Nathan Wrench, head of the industrial and energy business at Cambridge Consultants. “Our DelivAir concept has the potential to revolutionise the delivery process, by removing the address restriction that other drone technologies are limited by. We are taking cloud retail to the next level, delivering out of the clouds and into your hand.”
This type of ultra-precision delivery is ideal for instant delivery of items needed right away, such as delivering a first aid kit to a hiker, or an inner tube to a stranded cyclist or even bringing essential components into remote regions during times of disaster. The most compelling use cases may be in cases of medical supplies, such as delivering an EpiPen or a defibrilator to a person in need of these life-saving necessities.
“Ultra-precision is the future of drone delivery, and the opportunities are almost limitless,” said Wrench. “The mobile phone changed the way we make calls, from a location to an individual; we believe this technology has the potential to re-shape e-commerce in the same way, making deliveries to a person a practical proposition, no matter where they are."
Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology-critical issues for clients worldwide. For more than 50 years, the company has been helping its clients turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether they are launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies. With a team of 750 staff, including engineers, scientists, mathematicians and designers, in offices in Cambridge (UK), Boston (USA) and Singapore, Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, digital health, oil and gas, and wireless communications.
Cambridge Consultants is part of Altran, a global leader in engineering and R&D services which offers its clients a new way to innovate. Altran works alongside its clients on every link in the value chain of their project, from conception to industrialisation. In 2016, the Altran group generated revenues of €2.120bn. With a headcount of more than 30,000 employees, Altran is present in more than 20 countries. For more information, visit www.Altran.com.