Is This Carbon-Fiber Origami Drone the Mailman of the Future?

Hope your dog's been practicing his vertical leap

By Evan Bleier

 
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14 September 2017

Considering they’ve patented drone-related items ranging from parachutes to beehives, we’re fairly certain there are a number of Amazon execs who are shaking their heads at this.

Designed by École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, this new foldable delivery drone is encased in a carbon-fiber cage that protects both the drone and its cargo (be it a letter, medicine or USB). Capable of being flattened down by 92% so it can be tucked in a backpack, the origami-inspired cage encloses a quadcopter drone capable of carrying one pound for about a mile.

While those weight and distance specs aren’t great, the team at EPFL claims the drone is  programmed to avoid obstacles and, as they point out, the drone offers an additional layer of safety, as its four rotating blades are contained within a cage while they’re in operation.

Origami Drone (3 images)

“This project is a work in progress — in addition to strengthening its ability to detect and avoid objects, we are exploring possibilities to increase the drone’s payload capacity and enhance its autonomy,” according to drone developer Przemyslaw Kornatowski.

And, in a move that possibly should get Amazon’s lawyers interested, Kornatowski says his team has been testing using a parachute with the drone as well.

If they bring an infringement suit, maybe Amazon will end up owning the design after all.

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