It might put an end to those irritating missed delivery cards and the fleets of couriers ferrying our internet shopping to our homes.
A new type of robotic vehicle could soon be carrying our packages and parcels to our doors, according to designers.
The Transwheel drone uses robotic arms to carry deliveries on single self-balancing wheel.
The Transwheel drones use a self-balancing system that allows them to drive on one wheel while carrying a load in their robotic arms. A single robot could carry small parcels while they could work together (pictured) to carry larger packages to people’s doors
It would use GPS to navigate between locations and facial recognition software to confirm the identity of recipients.
For larger items, the drones could also work together to share the load.
Kobi Shikar, an engineering and design student at Shenkar School of Engineering and Design in Ramat Gan, Israel, claims they could even replace the need for container lorries.
He said the robotic delivery service could replace the need for large delivery vehicles clogging up the roads but perhaps more usefully it may also remove the need to deliver items during working hours.
The Transwheel drone has robotic arms (pictured) which it can use to pick up and place down parcels. It would use facial recognition to confirm the identity of a recipient when delivering an item under the vision outlined by designer Kobi Shikar
By working together the single wheeled drones could carry larger items (artist’s impression above). They would use GPS to help them navigate and to alert people that their delivery is close by
Instead the robots would be able to turn up with packages at times more convenient to homeowners.
Mr Shikar said: ‘The Transwheel concept reimagines package distribution as a round-the-clock autonomous service carried out by robotic single-wheel drones that work independently and together to ensure timely, efficient delivery.
‘Each wheel features a self-balancing gyroscopic system, electric arms, and GPS-driven communication capability.
Mr Shikar says the robots would be able to balance using a similar system to that used on a Segway (graphic above). More compact than delivery vans they would take up less space on the roads and without the need for drivers could make deliveries at night
‘Smaller parcels can be handled by a single robot while larger packages will be tag-teamed by an appropriate number of robots that self-configure to the package’s unique dimensions.’
Shikar designed the Transwheel robots as part of his final year university project and believes they could work alongside flying drones being developed to carry small packages by Amazon.
The vehicles use a similar balancing system to the Segway, allowing it to remain upright on one wheel despite carrying a load.
The drones (illustrated) would be completely autonomous, forming part of a robotic delivery network to carry packages around the country
By working together as a swarm (illustrated above), the drones could even carry large loads such as shipping containers, reducing the need for large lorries or trucks on the road
AMAZON PLANS DRONE ‘SUPERHIGHWAY’ FOR HIGH-SPEED DELIVERIES
Amazon wants a section of airspace above our cities to be dedicated to hundreds of thousands of high-speed delivery drones.
Its vision, which is in line with that of Google’s, is for tracked drones to communicate their positions to a centralised computer system available to all operators, similar to aviation airspace.
The move toward a ‘drone superhighway’ is the next step in Amazon’s ambition plans to deliver packages via drone within 30 minutes.
Google is also hoping drones could eventually be used for disaster relief by delivering aid to isolated areas – and for package delivery.
A Nasa team is currently leading the effort to create a drone air-traffic system, named Unmanned Aerial System Traffic Management.
So far, 14 companies have signed agreements to work with the agency, Google, Amazon, Verizon Communications Inc. and Harris Corp.
In recent years there have been a growing number of close calls, including with other aircraft near airports, and close to helicopters.
The latest recommendations, put forward by Amazon, are a bid to speed approval of unmanned aerial vehicles in large portions our skies.
While the Transwheel is still a concept design, Mr Shikar hopes to develop it into a working prototype if he can find an industry partner to develop it with.
He said the vehicles could operate at night on roads when they are quieter or even race up the hard shoulder rather than getting in the way of other vehicles.
He said: ‘There are also LED signal lights which would enable it to be seen during the night by other vehicles. The robots would also know how to return to a safe place when their battery was low.’
The Transwheel robots could work alongside flying drones by carrying larger packages (illustrated above) than can be delivered by air
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