Wednesday, March 15, 2017 goes into drone delivery experiments!

Drone Delivery Test – Takas Experiments
Disclaimer: this was a pre-alpha stage test to check the feasibly of drone delivery in Colomb0
We are kicking off a new series of articles to give our customers a glimpse some of the sexier things we are working on and what you can expect from us in the future. While most of the things we experiment on are not very exciting (UI tweaks, usability tests, A/B tests, etc.), our development team was able to find some time to over the last month to test out drone deliveries.
The main purpose of the experiment was to see if the drone carry a load up and safely bring the product down and manoeuvre with a payload. Secondary questions we were trying to answer were whether we could use drone to deliver orders in Colombo and to get an idea of the technical requirements to carry it out. We used only off the shelf hardware and a “state-of-the-art sellotape based package attachment mechanism” (patent pending) (joking, obviously) to get the prototype ready as soon as possible with limited resources.

Lessons Learnt

  • Terrain and building height data currently insufficient.
  • Package size and how it effects the airflow around the drone is equally important to the weight distribution. We faced a few stability issues because the package was blocking air flowing downwards.
  • Deliveries can we done extremely fast, avoiding traffic.*
  • We need to work with authorities on getting clearance for deliveries.*

Next Steps

  • Decide on specifications for industrial sized drones designed to carry a payload.
  • Figure out a way to obtain better terrain information, at least in urban centres.
  • Design a package attachment and release mechanism.

Equipment & Software:

  • Drone: DJI Phantom 4
  • Automation: Litchi
  • Order Processing: Internally Developed
* Drone movements can currently only be carried out in private spaces and commercial drones require a qualified pilot to operate it.