Here’s the next BIG thing. Something that has the potential to be as big as the Internet.
It’s one of those ideas that hits you like a ton of bricks once you figure it out.
Given the rise in the entrepreneurial backchatter I’m getting on it, I supect it’s going to roll out very quickly.
More quickly than most people think once it gets going, since most of the infrastructure required to put it into motion is already in place.
What is it?
It’s an Internet of drones.
A short distance drone delivery service built on an open protocol. Think short haul logistics.
It’s a system that will explode in a way that is very similar to the way the Internet grew up — where connections were bought by individuals and installed one modem and IP address at a time, and where the early providers are local geeks with shelves full of modems and an expensive T-1 lines.
It’s an approach that uses “uncontrolled airspace” and incremental purchases of cheap, standards compliant pads/drones to roll itself out (very similar to the way the Internet was able to piggy back on the old telephone system).
As a result of this open approach and decentralization, it’s something that could grow VERY fast.
Here’s a simplified version of what I’m talking about:
- I put package onto a landing pad at my home.
- Drone arrives, takes package and flies away.
- Drone delivers package to landing pad at delivery location.
There’s almost nothing technically in the way of this happening right now.
Here’s how it would work in practice:
- My brother left his iphone at my house. I want to get it to him, but he lives 30 mi away (as the crow flies, 50 by driving).
- I put it into a delivery container and put it on a small landing pad outside my home.
- I order a drone on my phone and put the ID of the container into the order (I could just as easily use a drone I buy to do it P2P).
- A drone arrives 10 minutes later, picks up the container automatically.
- After a couple of hops, it arrives at my brother’s landing pad, where it drops off the container and alerts him with an e-mail/text.
- Costs? Probably less than $0.25 per 10 mi. or so. So, about $0.75 in this instance. Time? An hour or so.
How cool is that? Now add millions of drones and millions of landing pads, interconnecting with each other according to simple rules and decentralized ownership.
There’s lots more to this, and I’ll try to share it when I get a chance.
Hope you enjoy this heads up.
Cool idea. I expect there might be some complications with millions of these things flying around (i.e. liability when they crash) but i am sure they could be worked out. They have to be very reliable and there would have to be ways to prevent ‘hijacking’ but it would really kill UPS, FedEx, etc.
Perhaps coupling with driverless cars. It might finally make having grocery food delivered to the house a sustainable possibility. I order the food and a drone delivers it.
But the exponential economy is driving the cost of these very low very fast.