Although the general public partially forgot the company’s drone-based package delivery system, the fact that Google issues a patent for a drone-delivery receiving robot shows that this concept has not been left for dead at all. The idea of having drones deliver packages to your door has been approached since 2012, and in August 2014, it was entitled Project Wing, with tests carried out in Australia and at NASA’s AMES Center.
Basically, the patented robot is a type of box on wheels, transporting the package to a location, either public of private, in order to be picked by a drone. This will ensure that the drone will not run out of juice during prolonged flights, as well as circumventing certain weather factors that could potentially threaten the safety of the package.
True, having the package transported by a robot, be it either on land or air, does pose some serious security issues. Who is to say that some people will not be able to wait until the drone flies overhead in order to hit it with a rock or some other method so that the robot gets destabilized and falls or drops its package. Even if the delivery could potentially remain safe from theft, it can still suffer damages when plummeting towards the ground.
The idea of having robots transport packages on the ground to public pick-up stations faces the same threats as well. Depending on the size of the robot, you can simply pick it up and run away with it, enjoying your new iPhone or whatever gets delivered through this system.
Theft and package safety threats are not the only ones present. One can easily think of the idea that due to the wind, the drone may drop its package from great heights right on an unsuspecting pedestrian, potentially threatening his life, depending on flight height and package size.
Several governments have already blocked off drone passage, with Australia almost becoming a no-drone zone entirely. Flights near airports, government buildings or in heavily circulated areas have been extensively prohibited in Japan as well, with South Africa and Canada planning to install the same regulations in the next few years.
Although Google issues a patent for a drone-delivery receiving robot, the company will still have to face some hindrances created by the US government due to safety concerns before it can effectively use a drone delivery system for its packages. Amazon has also approached this concept and it faced more or less the same problems. Even if Google might take an on-land approach, drone deliveries are still somewhat unreliable in comparison to traditional delivery services.