You dropped a book on me: Drones to deliver textbooks

Imagine the book you need to ace the exam showing up at your door, care of your friendly neighborhood drone.

A textbook rental company is trying to mimic the instantaneous speed of e-book delivery for printed books by utilizing civil drones in Sydney, Australia. Zookal, a service that rents textbooks to university students, has partnered with Flirtey, an outfit specializing in unmanned aerial vehicles, to aerially deliver print books to customers within minutes after an order is placed.

The Age reports that the service uses the GPS coordinates of a user’s smartphone to make textbook deliveries, a win for cramming students who have left studying to the very last minute and and need to save all the time they can. After one of six Sydney drones has been dispatched, students will be able to track the realtime journey of their unmanned textbooks on a Google-powered map.

The book-delivering drone will hover about 10 feet in the air and lower the textbook to the waiting student. A tug on the cord that lowered the textbook will release it -- and then the drone will, presumably, head back to textbook base for another.


If the government gives the OK, students in Sydney could be buying books delivered by drones as early as March. The drones can carry up to 4-1/2 pounds and will drastically reduce shipping costs for Zookal. Shipping a 4.5-pound package via same-day delivery regularly costs up to $30; Zookal founder Ahmed Haider estimates the cost of the delivery by drone will be closer to $3.

In the event that the drones aren’t legislated for home delivery, Haider’s slightly less convienent vision is to have the hexacopters dropping textbooks off in public parks.

There is no word yet on whether or not students would rather just use the iPhones, Androids, and Windows phones they can order the drone texts from to just read e-book versions of their course material.


Oscar Hijuelos: An appreciation

Charlie Hunnam leaves ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ movie adaptation

Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’ removed from New Mexico high school