Sunday, January 6, 2013
Enter The Dronenet
Here's my favorite Big Idea of the year so far, via John Robb, who's always worth your attention: The Dronenet, a "short distance drone delivery service built on an open protocol." He fleshes it out in a series of posts, but basically, it would be a network of drones that would carry things the same way the Internet carries data: in packets, over a series of multiple hops, routing on the fly. Sound like a pipe dream? Not at all: Matternet is a startup working on implementing just that for delivery of high-value goods (pharmaceuticals, electronics) to developing countries and/or rugged locations where the roads are so few and/or terrible that UAVs become the superior option. Their idea is for drone transportation to--literally--leapfrog trucks in those areas in the same way the cell phones leapfrogged land lines. Robb's, typically, is bigger.