Drone Startups part 1: Matternet
Although only five months young, dronologista blog has grown and needs a new attire.
As of 1st of September, dronologista.com moves to a new hosting, new address and slightly changes the appearance . Content will remain the same, and dronologista will continue to provide information about non-military drones only.
Just like the internet, but for matter. Set up by a group of students from Singularity University around the idea of leapfrogging expensive and inflexible road infrastructure in 2011, Matternet envisions system that can reach anyone, anywhere a system that creates opportunities and unlocks access.
Aiming to leapfrog limits of the existing surface transportation infrastructure, Matternet offers an innovative solution: a network that will use drones to deliver goods from and to communities that don’t have access to roads.
Taking into account present boundaries of drone technology, people behind Matternet designed a system that consists of three components:
- Drones – custom-built autonomous electric quadcopters with GPS and sensors, capable of carrying a few kilos up to 10 kilometers (which will improve, as the technology advances)
- Ground stations – solar powered charging stations where a drone can swap dead batteries for a set of charged ones
- Operating system – to organize fleet operations around the clock
The team has already conducted first autonomous point to point test flights in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the UK, and at NASA’s Moffett Field in the US.
Although there are difficulties to be overcame (e.g. adverse weather conditions), those are not insoluble problems, and Matternet team is working on solutions.
Although initially targeting rural areas of developing countries without road access, such system can be also used in megacities, carrying goods over congested roads.
Video and pictures courtesy of Matternet.