Many innovative entrepreneurs are attempting to integrate drone technology into their business. For example, ecommerce giant Amazon is continuing to develop its Prime Air service, in which the company plans to use aerial drones to deliver small packages to their destinations. However, startup company DRONEDEK is taking a different approach. Instead of focusing on the drones that will be delivering the package, the startup is building a smart mailbox that can safely receive and protect packages after a drone delivery. DRONEDEK is seeking support for its design from crowdfunding investors through a WeFunder campaign.
“As the world accelerates around us, DRONEDEK is set to disrupt delivery,” said Dan O’Toole, founder and CEO of the startup business. “The ‘Amazon Economy’ is seeing delivery of all varieties pick up significantly. We offer an app driven smart mailbox solution that we hope will grace the front door of every home and business in America.”
Through the campaign, the startup company hopes to raise the maximum amount allowed through regulation crowdfunding, $5 million. DRONEDEK has captured the interest of over 3,200 investors thus far, and, to date, the campaign has generated roughly $2.35 million for the business. Interested investors can support DRONEDEK for as little as $275, with shares in the startup company going for $2.75 per share. If DRONEDEK is successful in raising the full $5 million, the business plans on using 45% of the funds for the research and development of its smart mailbox.
Smart Mailboxes for Smart Delivery
O’Toole came up with the inspiration for DRONEDEK in 2014 while driving home from a meeting. The founder of the startup company looked out the window, saw a drone flying alongside the vehicle, and thought about how a package could be delivered by the device and kept safe for the recipient. O’Toole worked diligently toward his ideas, and a few years later, he secured the first of several patents for his smart mailbox design.
Though the product is still early in development, the startup has a number of features planned for the first iteration of its smart mailbox, as well as a few long-term additions. Using global positioning systems (GPS) to communicate with delivery drones, the smart mailbox receives small packages through a weatherproof, motorized door. Packages are lowered onto a cushioned platform, which compresses to receive more than one parcel at a time. Recipients can then access their secured packages by opening the storage compartment with the physical keypad or through a mobile app.
The company also has plans for a slew of additional features, including ultraviolet light disinfection, climate-controlled storage, and even sensors for detecting biohazards or explosives. Smart mailboxes will also recharge docked delivery drones for delivery companies.
Banking on the Drone Delivery Market
Market research projects the global drone package delivery market to be valued at $7.39 billion by 2027. DRONEDEK aims to capture space in the growing market by securing early patents for smart mailbox designs. With a product capable of securing packages and charging delivery drones, DRONEDEK hopes to play an important role in the widespread adoption of drone delivery services.
James White is a Michigan State University graduate with a BS in Environmental Biology. He is interested in reporting emerging trends in technology, especially with regard to alternative energy and environmental conservation.