back to article Oz bookshop to deliver by drone

An Australian university textbook rental outfit called Zookal has promised to deliver its wares by drone. Zookal has teamed with another Sydney startup, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) outfit Flirtey, to deliver books. Customers order books using their smartphone and once loaded Flirtey's drone homes in on that device thanks to …

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Bronze badge

It's been a while

but I seem to remember textbooks tend to be very heavy. Maybe they should go with octacopters. Even then I'm not sure I'd want to be underneath one when something goes wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's been a while

I have one that weighs 4lbs, hard hats compulsory.

Headline 'chihuahua dies crushed by medical textbook dropped from 500'

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Coat

Re: It's been a while

but I seem to remember textbooks tend to be very heavy.

The plan is that a heavy book will be digitized and shipped on a USB flash drive.

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Re: It's been a while

Maybe one day we'll have a wide area computer network that would allow files to be downloaded directly from servers to clients all over the world.

We can but dream.

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What could go wrong?

The hexacopter drone homes in on the customer's location based on the customer phone's GPS (either continous or as recorded at the time of the order). Does the hexacopter control centre know about power pylons, telephone poles, high buildings, etc? Does it know how to open doors, etc? This could be the start of some hilarious You Tube videos.

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JDX
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Re: What could go wrong?

You should probably write to them, they probably never thought that it would be good if their drones din't fly into things.

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Re: What could go wrong?

I recognise sarcasm when I see it (as well as many other things). Do they have a map of every lamp post and flagpole and overhead cable? Will students never run behind a newly installed crane (or whatever) so they can get a YouTube worthy video of a drone fragmenting itself? Will students order a book and then drive around in cars or on bikes for the fun of seeing the drone trying to keep up with them? I know I would, but maybe that's just me.

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Re: What could go wrong?

Most autonomous navigation systems don't need to know this kind of information, they just work it out as they make their way towards a destination, much like humans do.

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Nice idea

Clearly it has a way to go, and textbooks is the silliest of starting points, but an independent delivery network that doesn't get caught in traffic isn't a bad idea for certain classes of goods. Vaccines between hospital campuses could be a time when you'd want fast point to point delivery.

It's just a modern carrier pigeon that eats fossil fuels as opposed to grain.

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Re: Nice idea

Electrically powered usually. The big advance was the extremely light weight of LIPO cells.

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JDX
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Who cares if it's a really silly idea

It's proper SciFi and just plain cool.

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Black Helicopters

Deal of the century

Free drone with every book purchase? I've been meaning to look at mid air drone hacking..

On the other hand forget the books.. where are the pizza delivery drones?!

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Re: Deal of the century

OH GOD YES PIZZA. PIZZA FROM THE SKY.

Also, puddings.

Really, I cannot imagine a better thing.

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JDX
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Re: Deal of the century

If Dominos signed up to this (being the only pizza chain with the resources) that would be incredible.

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Re: Deal of the century

Bacon from the sky!

You could use a kind of drone hot air balloon combo to do this. Burners would cook the bacons and provide lift at the same time with little fans on the back to provide direction and a gentle waft of bacon smell as it passes.

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Re: Deal of the century

"If Dominos signed up to this (being the only pizza chain with the resources) that would be incredible."

http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/dominos-tests-delivery-pizza-remote-controlled-drone-150259

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Pint

Re: Deal of the century

"Really, I cannot imagine a better thing."

How about a 2d drone with the flat of beer?

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Anonymous Coward

Drones - The New Silk Road?

The first drone takes your money, the second drone delivers your drugs.. Huge business potential..

Can someone crowdsource this please?

Anon, for obvious reasons :}

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A security Nightmare

US President visiting at the same time someone orders a drone delivery, queue drone shot out the sky.

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Headmaster

Re: A security Nightmare

"queue drone shot out the sky."

Are we expecting congestion? Cue the downvotes.

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Re: A security Nightmare

"Are we expecting congestion? Cue the downvotes."

Nope, it's just that whenever Air Force One is about, air traffic is halted.

Ground traffic as well.

I had a buddy once escorted off of a house roof that was five miles from where the POTUS was to pass by at gunpoint.

He was there, working for a large corporation, installing a television antenna for a customer.

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Coat

Text Books / eBooks

No eReader is suitable yet to properly replace Text books. Novels are great. Reference works can be OK if done properly (A PDF of images of scanned book is painful).

Also the regular size kindle is too small for text books. If I get the now re-appeared Kindle DX**, I will test it,

Need easier annotation, better bookmarks*, goto by click on place on bar representing "depth" of book so you can flip into via "binary tree" like search as you would do on a paper one when you know roughly the location but not page number.

*Maybe show the Favourite Bookmarks as icons on a bar representing the depth of book.

BTW, Apple, I designed all this in 1987, so don't bother trying to patent it.

(** is re-released DX a newer screen like Paper White? Amazon site seems vague)

Mines the one with a Kindle paper white in the pocket.

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Re: Text Books / eBooks

Well I just ordered the new version of Kindle DX. 1/3rd price of a top iPad, but no competition to a Tablet. It might compete well with paper textbooks, scanned books and A4 PDFs on a 1600 x 1200 laptop. I may save a lot on laser printing. Print to PDF and copy via USB to Kindle DX.

I'll not rush into buying text books till the eVersions are a LOT cheaper than dead tree versions.

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Bronze badge

Its just a middleman

Im guessing it will ferry the books to a local company collection point with a landing pad/runway not delivered per user.So it will just take the place of the hub delivery truck but with much less carrying capacity.

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Could bering a whole new meaning to Lost in the Post...

Me: Where's me book?

Them: Er - Lost

Me: What - in the post?

Them: Er - No. In the desert.

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Facepalm

Please send...

"The Compleat Wedding Planner" by drone to my Afghanistan family celebration.

What could possibly go wrong?

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Headmaster

Re: Please send...

Spelling?

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shite

utter mince. but got them publicity I suppose.

I've got 3 quadcopters. Yes - you could use them to say deliver 1kg payload between to open spaces but otherwise it's mince.

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Re: shite

You mean a 1kg payload like a couple of books? You mean an open space like the Outback? So you mean the plan would work exactly as described, but apart from that it's mince? Yeah, good point.

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JDX
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Re: shite

I think he means it would be a good way to transport Shepherd's Pie or Chilli con Carne.

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TRT
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Re: shite

If there were two of them and you tied a bit of string...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: shite

It is a shite idea. Even in the outback they have trees or shrubs that would certainly make the drone landing or takeoff liable to failure. Plus the distances involved are massive so I don't know what kind of magic battery technology they are considering

Plus given that anything more valuable than an old bike is locked up in most places in the earth I don't see how they will stop people stealing what will be very valuable pieces of kit

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Re: shite

"You mean a 1kg payload like a couple of books? You mean an open space like the Outback? So you mean the plan would work exactly as described, but apart from that it's mince? Yeah, good point."

yup, payload fine.... open space like the outback... if bookshop also in middle of outback, and a max distance of about 3 miles from book buyer...

no ?

then it's mince.

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Silver badge

cool.

In the land of the flying doctor and the school of the air, I can really see the point of this.

But, as was pointed out, books may not be the best market. Delivering car spares, hand tools, bits and pieces, even fashion, to remote locations would be cool. And you could 'chute drop them.

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Joke

Re: cool.

Exactly. There is a website the once started by delivering books and branched out a bit and they've done ok. What were they called? Oh yeah, Amazon. :-)

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Joke

So an improvement on Yodel, then.

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Free drone with every book..

I like this idea..

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Joke

After other recent relevations (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2456651/), let's hope that WHSMith don't sign up to this book delivery service - that would be wrong on so many levels.

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Kindle sucks for Textbooks

"Of course it's already possible to have books delivered to a smartphone: Amazon's Kindle app is available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone and even BlackBerry while the Nook app works on the first three OSes mentioned."

Kindle is great for novels, but it is terrible for any book where you might want to keep track of more than the page you are reading. Where with a paper book, it's simple to keep a finger on a page with a useful table, diagram, etc., with Kindle you have to keep skipping back and forth with multiple page-turns or clumsy dialogs.

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Wrong Payload

I'm not sure delivering text books to students via drone will ever become financially viable, however delivering beer and pizza direct to your phone location is an absolute winner!

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Re: Wrong Payload

Do you like tacos?

http://tacocopter.com/

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Dead-tree Vs eBook

Those of us who were Uni student know the real reason why dead-tree will always win over eBook : at the end of the semester, you can resell your dead-tree to the next batch of students.

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About ebooks

"Of course it's already possible to have books delivered to a smartphone: Amazon's Kindle app is available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone and even BlackBerry while the Nook app works on the first three OSes mentioned."

Drones delivering physical books don't triple the price the way ebooks do.

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I once stumbled upon spam with idea of delivering humanitarian cargo with ballistic missile. Think that would work much better in Australian emptiness.

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