Contactless delivery is among the biggest buzzwords of 2020. Drone delivery has been a buzzword since pretty much 2013, when Jeff Bezos promised Amazon drone deliveries were coming. And in a not-too-far-off future, those two buzzwords could be combined to create one super future of contactless drone delivery.
Two American drone companies, AgEagle Aerial Systems and Valqari, are partnering up in an attempt to make contactless drone delivery a widespread possibility.
The two companies in October signed a two-year exclusive manufacturing contract that enables AgEagle to produce Valqari’s patented Drone Delivery Station, essentially a mailbox that could go in your yard designed to solve the “last inch” logistic problems associated with drone deliveries.
That drone delivery mailbox allows for what AgEagle says is an entirely automated and safe drone package delivery system. The drone mailbox could serve a few homes in a neighborhood, as the seven and a half-feet high Drone Delivery Station contains six separate storage units to accommodate multiple drone and traditional postal deliveries or pickups.
Many have been dubious of the viability of drone delivery because there hasn’t been a great way to secure mail from thieves. This mailbox not only stores the packages, but takes it a step further by maintaining a digital chain of custody throughout the entire delivery process.
But drone delivery has been a growing trend in 2020, largely due to coronavirus has upended most Americans’ lifestyles, causing people to stay at home rather than running out to stores for shopping. In fact, a memo sent out on April 14 by the Federal Aviation Administration specifically addressed the fact that drones can aid in a number of coronavirus-related use-cases, including drone delivery.
As part of the agreement, AgEagle will manufacture and assemble the Drone Delivery Stations in its new manufacturing and assembly facility in Wichita, Kansas. AgEagle also made an equity investment in Valqari in association with its current early stage funding round.
Both companies are based in the Midwest. Valqari was started not far away in Chicago, Illinois and was named one of the “Top 50 Startup to Watch in 2020” by Built in Chicago.