The tough part about the Dronet (a simplified version of the made up word: dronenet) idea isn't coming up with the idea, it's figuring out how to make it real and when it could become real (means and timing).
If you can't figure out means and timing and communicate it to people, the idea is meaningless and ephemera. NOTE: this also means that if you are complaining to me about inventing it first in the shower a couple of years ago, you are wasting your time, I don't care. Let's just figure out how to get it built together, right now, since nobody has done that effectively yet.
Let's get the timing out the way right now. The timing is now.
Drone tech is sufficient to pull it off. Further, the open source community forming around drones is capable of handling the challenge.
So, how does it get built?
Here's a grassroots approach to get you thinking.....
The Internet rolled out by using the common global network as a starting point. It then piggybacked on public infrastructure (POTS) to connect people up. Each new connection increased the value of the network.
Dronet, in contrast, will emerge from peer to peer (p2p) connections as well as a few local hub and spoke delivery networks.
Let me walk you through it...
I set up a landing pad. You set up a landing pad. We have a delivery network with a little effort on software and routes (take off, 300 ft straight up, GPS point to point, hover over target, landing provides a beacon for landing precisely). It solves our problem. We don't go to the FAA or any government agency for permission.
Then, someone develops a on-line system for registering landing pad locations and capabilities. I register my landing pad in that system.
With the next iteration of the system, I actively connect my landing pad to the system via a wireless hookup. At that point, the status and capabilities of the pad are part of a global network that is forming.
Soon, there are a dozen pads in my area withing hoping distance. I note that a couple are at homes of friends and a local makerspace. We start to regularly deliver stuff via our network.
To solve our problems, we see advances in the following areas:
- Drones begin to connect to the emerging online system. They do this through wireless connections via landing pads and cell phone networks. They report status -- location to speed to altitude to power level.
- Drones get new capabilities. Rapid swap batteries and wireless recharging capabilities.
- Drone payloads get modularized. Standard packaging metrics and weights.
- Dronet gets more detailed and real-time in its coverage of landing pad and drone activity.
- People write apps that allow people to coordinate drone flights and performance metrics.
Small companies and coops (like the micro ISPs that we saw in the mid 90's) that provide drone landing pads and drone connectivity emerge everywhere simultaneously. They offer drone pick ups and move quickly to adopt new standards as they emerge.
Soon thereafter, controls engineers jump in with a drone routing protocol based on some earlier work for a different purpose. That bare bones protocol serves as a way to route drones from point to point and across multiple hops based on real-time status data.
The Dronet coops and companies begin to peer with each other, and work on establishing multi-hop systems. The local networks that grow the fastest are the ones that make easy for people to buy a pad and connect to the emerging network.
Have fun inventing the world,
PS: On that note, here's a rolling drone (check out this video of it in action). It will challenge your thinking about drones/bots a bit.
"During terrestrial locomotion, the robot only needs to overcome rolling resistance and consumes much less energy compared to the aerial mode. Experimental results show that the hybrid robot can travel a distance 4 times greater and operate almost 6 times longer than a aerial only system. It also solves one of the most challenging problems in terrestrial robot design — obstacle avoidance. When an obstacle is encountered, the system simply flies over it."