Mailroom announces groundbreaking drone delivery system

David Khazen, Staff Writer

Every student on campus is familiar with the struggle of getting a package from the mailroom. You always seem to get that “pick up your package” email at the most inconvenient times. Sometimes you’re in class all day and just don’t have a chance to grab it. Other times you get the email right when you get back home.

And, of course, who wants to wait in that excruciatingly long line during common hour? To address these concerns and quell the complaints of the student body, the mailroom announced Wednesday that they will be implementing a brand new drone delivery system.

I met up with Maddie Moosher, the Head of Research and Development at the Mailroom, and Jack Wittlestick, the spokesman for the Mailroom, to find out a little bit more about this new system.

Q: I’d like to start out by asking you, Jack, why the mailroom chose to implement this system?

A: We’ve heard the complaints of the students and decided that this is the perfect time for the college to go ahead and pull the trigger on this project. We’ve been toying with the idea of some sort of expedited delivery system for some time.

We were lucky to have the support of the finance department which has allocated a portion of every student’s tuition to this project. We really just want our students to get their packages in the most timely and convenient manner possible.

Q: Maddie, could you tell me a little bit about the drones themselves? The mailroom serves over 2000 students, it seems like delivering packages individually would be quite difficult.

A: You’re not wrong about that, this has definitely been a challenging project to work on. The drones will be able to deliver packages anywhere on campus so to do that, we needed to develop a way to find each student. By using GPS, the drones will get a general location on the student. Then using facial recognition, it will hone in on the correct student. Once it has a lock on the student, the drone can follow the student until they are in a safe spot to take possession of the package.

Q: You mentioned GPS, how exactly is that going to work? Doesn’t GPS need some sort of beacon to function off of?

A: Ya, that’s actually one of the coolest parts about this system. Every student will get a location beacon implanted on the back of their neck. The beacons are thermally powered, so your own body heat will keep the device going. You won’t even need to plug yourself in!

Q: That’s a really interesting concept. So how exactly does the drone deliver the package?

A: The delivery system is actually pretty simple. The drone’s onboard gyroscopic sensors determine the optimal distance from the target. Once that has been set, the drone uses a robotic arm and just throws the package. But, because of some FAA rules, we can’t deliver packages from anything less than 30 feet high.

Q: So, Jack, I guess I’ll ask you the big question: is this safe? I mean it’s a robot that flies around, following students and throwing packages at them.

A: We get this question at all the time and the short answer is yes. In testing, we made sure to rigorously test for safety. We only had ten fatal injuries, which is well below our accepted threshold.