Similar to other drones used for pizza deliveries and beer airdrops, the Flirtey Zookal drone has been designed to deliver textbooks to students utilizing the GPS coordinates of the person that places the order. Flirtey is a company that develops unmanned drone technology and Zookal is a company that rents textbooks to Australian college students. Designed to emulate the speedy delivery of a digital textbook, the creators of the drone program are promising delivery within minutes. With six hexacopter models in rotation for a test run of this drone program, students will be able to track delivery of their rented textbook utilizing a Google Maps interface on their smartphone or tablet.
When the drone arrives at the student’s location, the drone hovers in the air around a height of around ten feet. Utilizing the mobile app, the student triggers the drone to slowly lower the textbook to their grasp. Once the textbook is retrieved, the hexacopter returns to Zookal representatives to pick up another delivery.
Aiming to lower the cost of delivery for students, Zookal representatives estimate it will reduce same day shipping costs significantly. With same day delivery costs ranging from $8 to $20 depending on the weight of a package containing textbooks, drone delivery will be just a few dollars. In addition, the two companies plan to sell marketing space on the drone to eliminate shipping costs for the consumer completely.
Of course, Flirtey and Zookal still have to get approval from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority to operate unmanned drones within residential areas. If approved, the two companies plan to continue testing the drones throughout the end of the year and launch in March for the Australian public. At launch, an Android application will be available with the iOS and Windows apps likely arriving at a later date. Both companies are also interested in expanding the program to the United States by 2015, but that will require the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration.