Publication: Last-Centimeter Personal Drone Delivery: Field Deployment and User Interaction
Drones are rapidly becoming an affordable and often faster solution for parcel delivery than terrestrial vehicles. Existing transportation drones and software infrastructures are mostly designed by logistics companies for trained users and dedicated infrastructure, and are to be used for either long range (<150 km) or last-mile delivery (<20 km). This letter presents Dronistics, an integrated software and hardware system for last-centimeter (<5 km) person-to-person delivery using cargo drones. The system is conceived to be intuitive and intrinsically safe to enable short-distance deliveries between inexperienced users. Dronistics is composed of a safe foldable drone (PackDrone) and a web application software to intuitively control and track the drone in real time. In order to assess Dronistics’ user acceptance, we conducted 150 deliveries over one month on the EPFL campus in Switzerland. Here we describe the results of these tests by analyzing flight statistics, environmental conditions, and user reactions. Moreover, we also describe technical problems that occurred during flight tests and solutions that could prevent them.