An Indianapolis-based entrepreneur is looking to bring the "mailbox of the future" to residents. DroneDek aims to make drone package delivery a reality through the combination of a landing pad mailbox and a smartphone app. Chief Executive Officer Dan O’Toole says he came up with the idea for DroneDek while driving on a rural Indiana road, seeing a drone flying by and wondering where packages being delivered by drones would end up. He filed for a patent within a week, which he later received, beating Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) and the United States Postal office to the punch.
DroneDek includes a heated and cooled cargo area for packages that are delivered and is connected to a smartphone app. In an interview for The INnovators with Dr. K, O’Toole said he wanted to create something to match the innovation of drone delivery.
"We have the secure receptacle, DroneDek, which completes the ‘final mile’ solution," said O’Toole. "It’s one thing to get the item to your porch but if you just leave it there, that’s not going to give you the value that you really need so DroneDek brings all the conveniences, lets you know when you receive something, what you have. You can return items through it. You can ship or receive with it. It’s got just a ton of different claims that we’ve been able to get with it."
O’Toole says he has self-funded the technology up to this point and is now looking at potential investors to continue development. He says they have completed a prototype and are working toward developing a production unit.
Dr. K provided O’Toole with a "prescription" in the form of three knowledge factors, should DroneDek move toward manufacturing the technology itself:
- Knowledge in Business: Understand this is not just a technology, but a business
- Knowledge in Manufacturing: Expertise that understands manufacturing "scale up" operations
- Knowledge with Investors: Experience that recognizes "smart money" that can assist with the growth of the venture
You can watch the full INnovators segment in the video above.