Sigh. Prepare for loads of credulous coverage, matching the wave of reporting on the Pirate Bay's stoned suggestion that "we're going to use, er....GPS drones!....to file-trade from the sky. With Raspberry Pi."
I was picturing lowering the item via a string in a front or back yard. The string detaches from the copter. This way the recipient can't mess with the copter.
But I can't seem to get my APM2 sonar alt hold working! I don't understand, it worked fine with my APM1... some tuning problem I guess... the sonar altitude numbers are fine, just when I switch to alt hold mode it drops out of the sky...
So your going to use a bombing run approach where you basically have the food item slung under the copter and then your going to drop it onto someones property? Looks like you need to look into impact resistant packaging. :)
Also, how do you plan to stabilize your quad over a property? A GPS lock has some inherent error in it correct? You wouldn't be able to tell if you were over a lawn or over a pool just based off GPS. I would have thought any reasonable approach would involve some form of landing site and at least a visual, IR, or other such signal from the ground to allow for at least a semi automated drop. Will you be video piloting the whole flight and on the phone with customer ?
I mean I can certainly see this method as being good for maybe resupplying military units that are out in the field or delivering medical supplies, but a "drop" in an urban environment seems problematic.
Certainly a rural drop would not be out of the question though. Move to Wyoming.
David, I can think of many ways of getting around the accurate drop problem. I think the quad would need to be monitored via FPV, but the delivery would be largely autonomous. The best solution (requires some tech development) is probably to have the customer put out some kind of mat with a symbol that the quad could recognize and drop on. Perhaps that could be printed from a normal inkjet. It is not a trivial problem, but it's one the fast food industry will overcome and there will be billions of dollars in it. Kind of fun now, but in 10 years this will be standard.
And I should make it clear that I'm talking about a very low impact drop here-- the string is reeled out by a motor and the string only detaches once the object is on the ground. It's a "skycrane" approach like the Mars Science Laboratory is using for the Curiosity rover. If it works on Mars, it should work in your back yard ;-)
Then still that doesn't around the problems you claim to have with theft. You might as well just land. I really don't think the fast food industry will be using drones any time soon. This is just going to be a novelty for the wealthy nerd in tech savvy areas if it occurs at all. I mean I can see how you would do the flight. It all makes perfect sense. Maybe you could picture a "block wide" ground station similar to mail room. Where a sub development shares a drone port, but to lower packages onto a front lawn still seems a little hokey. I mean there is a reason that we all don't all fly helicopters even though they could be cost effective. The end user.
I'll be more than happy to buy a burrito off you when the time comes, but i'll be that wealthy nerd.
I think this is more likely.
Also, take a look at this...
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