Video: Drone startup introduces universal UAS delivery station

21 August 2020

Chicago-based startup Valqari has introduced a last mile logistics infrastructure solution that accommodates all types of unmanned aerial systems (UASs).

The Drone Delivery Station is drone agnostic and allows for fully autonomous point-to-point delivery for pickups up to 25 lb. The infrastructure allows for safe location and landing for UASs with six separate storage units to accommodate multiple drone and traditional deliveries or pickups. Additionally, the system maintains a digital chain of custody during the delivery process to track packages so that they arrive safely.

Valqari said the system accepts packages in numerous ways such as winched packages, hover-dropped packages or pickups and deliveries done via landed drones and traditional methods.

Landing pads for drones are not a new concept. In fact, a similar system was developed by DroneDek a few years ago and Matternet and Daimler developed a system for roaming vans with built-in landing pads on top to enable drones to easily take off and deliver goods.

Valqari said the goal is to enable a way to send and receive packages in urban, suburban and rural areas that is universal and standardized, offering a secure landing zone to protect people, property and packages. The system is also weatherproof, theft-proof and temperature controlled to help with food and drug deliveries.

The drone landing system is about 7.5 ft tall and can accommodate packages up to 12 in x 12 in x 9 in with automated route planning and scheduling. Deliveries and pickups can be scheduled on the Valqari app and the company plans to debut the technology in pilot tests later this year.

With the outbreak of COVID-19, the need for contactless delivery systems has grown considerably. Because of this, Valqari has formed partnerships with the following companies:

  • Airgility — to fly into GPS denied areas, delivering to rural areas.
  • AirMatrix — to create a framework for large-scale drone operations such as unmanned traffic management systems, route planning and fleet management software.
  • Big Rock Technologies — to build a fully autonomous no-touch two-way medical delivery network using drones. The method would provide a sterile transportation network that avoids community spread risks but maintains a chain of custody for controlled medicines.
  • Unmanned Systems Operations Group — to create an autonomous pharmaceutical distribution network.
  • Target Arm and Autonodyne — to create an intermodal drone delivery service that will allow for a drone to launch autonomously from a delivery vehicle. Target Arm will use its launch/capture system and fly autonomously using Autonodyne’s software to navigate before landing on Valqari’s Drone Delivery Station.
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