Drone Carriers Could Expand Package Delivery Service

Drone carriers

Drones may not be filling the skies these days, but they might be in the not so distant future. Companies such as Amazon.com, UPS, and Alibaba (the Chinese e-commerce company) have tested the viability of drone delivery and continue to enhance the technology to expand cargo capacity and flight time. While the results are promising, the addition of another existing technology could enhance the efficiency of drones – airships.

Airship technology has existed in one form or another since the 1600s, though their development didn’t begin in earnest until the 1800s. While not typically used to transport people or equipment in the modern era, airships are still used to this day for such endeavors as advertising, research, and surveillance. Given their mobility and stability, the lighter-than-air vessels could also be used as drone carriers.

A shipping company could load an airship with packages scheduled for delivery within a given service area. Housed within a small hangar, a drone fleet could pick up and deliver packages to intended destinations and return to the hangar to pick up additional deliveries. When their power levels reach a certain minimum level, removable battery packs could be extracted from the drones and replaced with fresh ones.

While the technology to make drone carriers a modern reality currently exists, it is not yet legal for drones to operate for commercial use in most cases. In 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration may make the possibility a reality when it issues a ruling on the use of drones for commercial purposes. Until then, and if the ruling isn’t pushed back beyond 2017, the possibility of using airships as drone carriers is up in the air.

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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

     /  April 30, 2015

    We already have ’em at work…

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