Amazon has a pretty nice plan laid out for how it would integrate delivery drones into the air. But with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) dragging its feet over regulations, who knows when or if drone delivery will become a reality.
Kobi Shikar, an industrial design student at Israel’s Shenkar College, has come up with an interesting alternative. His Transwheel robot looks like a unicycle, using one self-balancing wheel and a robotic arm to pick up and carry packages.
Here’s where it gets interesting. The electric robot could work alone to deliver small packages, but a group of Transwheel robots could work together to deliver large packages.
Transwheel robots use GPS to navigate to the delivery location and facial recognition to confirm the identity of a recipient. It also has built-in vision to help avoid obstacles it’ll surely encounter along the way.
Transwheel is just a concept at this point, but Shikar is looking for an industry partner to help build a working prototype. He points out that Transwheel robots are much smaller than delivery vans, so they’d take up less space on the roads.
“There are also LED signal lights which would enable it to be seen during the night by other vehicles,” he says. “The robots would also know how to return to a safe place when their battery was low.”