A Lawrence-based startup will Monday showcase the next step in the pilot of its smart mailboxes. Dronedek, which has developed a high-tech mailbox designed for secure drone delivery, will see traditional mail delivered to its mailbox at the offices of Schneider Geospatial in Indianapolis.
Dronedek Chief Executive Officer Dan O’Toole says the demonstration aims to show how the delivery of mail and packages is about to “drastically change.”
“We’re showcasing how this mailbox is ready right now for traditional delivery and what it can do in the near future when federal regulations are relaxed to enable autonomous delivery,” O’Toole said in written remarks. “We’re also marking the start of secure autonomous package delivery. It’s historic.”
Dronedek’s smart mailbox features a cargo area to receive and store packages delivered by drones. It can hold any type of package up to a certain size and also has heating and cooling features.
As part of Monday’s demonstration, a second delivery of food from McDonald’s will be dropped via drone at the Schneider Geospatial mailbox.
Jeff Corns, CEO of Schneider Geospatial, said it won’t be long before Dronedek mailboxes will be routine.
“Robotic delivery at Purdue University was a novelty when that began, and now, no one even thinks about sharing the sidewalk with those devices,” said Corns. “The pandemic really increased consumer demand for delivery, and consumers want faster, more secure ways of getting their products. Dronedek solves for that in a really cool way.”
Dronedek also has mailboxes outside the La Hacienda and Culver’s restaurants in Lawrence, as well as tech firm Bloomerang. O’Toole says the company is already in talks with major delivery services, including UberEats and DoorDash.
In January 2021, Drondek closed on a $1.2 million fundraising round to support product launch and create 85 jobs. The following November, the company announced it had signed an agreement with India-based defense contractor Bharat Electronics Limited to produce its smart mailbox units.
O’Toole will be joined by Lawrence Mayor Steve Collier and other officials for Monday’s demonstration, which is set to begin at 1 p.m. at the Schneider Geospatial offices.