Package delivery by drone will soon be common. Amazon, Walmart, UPS and others are all trialing the technology.
With some design changes to our living spaces, package-delivery-by-drone could make package theft, a/k/a "porch piracy," a thing of the past.
What's needed is for designers to come up with a system not for the last mile, but for that last ten feet: How does the package get into the recipient's home? If drones just drop deliveries unattended in the driveway, as has been shown in concept videos, it will do nothing to stop package theft. Furthermore, how could residents of dense urban apartment buildings also benefit from drone delivery?
I propose a design competition: Home Design Changes to Enable Secure Drone Delivery. The competition should span urban, suburban and rural areas, and could encompass either retrofitted designs or ground-up changes. (For the sake of design fun, we'd assume no onerous regulations, i.e. drones could fly directly to apartment windows in crowded cities.)
Some examples of categories:
Urban, Ground-Up Redesign
What if the top story of apartment buildings were designed with a rooftop drone package reception center for the entire building? Would residents take the elevator up to retrieve their packages, or could a system of dumbwaiters spirit packages downstairs to the mail room? Or would there be some other system, say smart lockers?
No matter how small the apartment, many NYC residents sacrifice at least one window to install an air conditioner in the summertime. Could the same be done with some type of retrofittable drone dock, allowing package delivery directly to the window of one's apartment? What should this dock look like? How can it keep packages protected from the elements? Would it coexist with an air conditioner, or require a second window? How would it be installed?
Suburban/Rural, Ground-Up Redesign
In Japan, electric clothes dryers are uncommon, due to the high cost of electricity. Therefore, nearly every house and apartment is designed with a balcony, specifically for line-dried clothes. What if houses in America were designed with balconies as drone package drop areas? Ideally these would be located high up, making it difficult for a package thief to access. Or could belfries become an architectural feature again, just without the bells?
What affordable changes could be made to existing homes, ranging from single-story trailers to suburban manses, to accept packages from drones? Window-mounted docks? Milk doors with automatic drawbridge openings that can swallow packages through the walls? And what would these look like from inside the house?
Please give me some feedback here; if you all think this is a good idea, I'll pitch the idea of a design competition to the higher-ups.