One reason delivery drones have not been widely used is that they only fly for about half an hour at a time,media New Atlas reported. But if they stop on the roof of a bus and “hitchhike”, their ability to stay can be improved, according to a new study. Led by associate professors Mykel Kochenderfer and Marco Pavone, a team at Stanford University first created computer models of drones delivered north of San Francisco and in Washington, D.C. The models combine the existing bus network, which can carry up to 5,000 packages by up to 200 drones per city.
Each plane starts at a warehouse where a package is loaded. If its destination is within range of the aircraft, the drone can fly directly to and from the location. But if the distance is far, the drone will fly to a bus stop, where it lands on a bus that covers most of the distance. Once the bus reaches a station within the destination range, the drone flies to the destination.
Since each city has more than one site, any drone can go back to its origin or go to another site where another package is waiting for it. With this in mind, the model determines which drones should be transported and what they are in. In all cases, the goal of the system is to minimize the time per delivery.
As a result, North San Francisco’s longest delivery time is less than an hour, while in Washington it is less than two hours. In addition, in both cities, the effective flight distance of drones can be increased fourfold.
“Delivery drones are the trend of the future. Kochenderfer said. “By making reasonable use of ground transportation, drones have the potential to provide safe, clean and cost-effective transportation. “
Companies such as Mercedes, HorseFly and Workhorse have proposed a similar system, suggesting that delivery drones can rely on delivery trucks.