Renting a textbook for university courses can make a lot of sense, as the outright purchase price for a book that only gets used for one semester can be quite high. Textbook rentals typically come by post or are picked up in person, but for some Australian college students, the textbooks they rent from Zookal in the near future could be delivered by a drone.
Textbook rental company Zookal already rents out several hundred books every day, either shipping them to students or allowing them to pick them up in person. However, a partnership with a commercial drone service called Flirtey will let the company offer not just the usual mail delivery of the books, but instead have them brought to their door by something quite futuristic – an unmanned drone.
Beginning sometime next March (pending approval by Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority), students in Sidney will be able to use an Android app to order their textbooks from Zookal, and request that one of Flirteys drones deliver them. The app will allow users to track their order via Google maps, which could arrive in as little as a couple of minutes.
The drones, which are capable of carrying up to 2 kg of books or other educational supplies, are guided by the GPS on the user’s phone, and when it arrives at the delivery location, lowers the package to the user while the drone remains about 3 meters off of the ground.
Flirtey’s drones do not have onboard cameras or other methods for collecting data, so there shouldn’t be any privacy concerns about surveillance or tracking, and the drone’s hexacopter design will allow it to still fly even if one of the rotors isn’t working.
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