Markup in the Writing Classroom

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One of the unsolved problems with living in a city such as Boston is the process of package delivery. If a package is being delivered to a dorm, or to an apartment while the resident is not at home to open the door, often times it is redirected to a different location to be picked up at a later time. This means that the recipient would have to take time out of his or her day to grab the package while the building is operating, and carry it all the way back to its intended location. This major inefficiency and inconvenience can be solved if the resident knows or controls exactly when the package is coming, or if it comes so quickly after ordering that the wait time is insignificant. These solutions can be realized through the use of drone technology, and the use of unmanned vehicles for delivery. Drones can send real time information to the recipient, can be activated at any time, and can arrive at the end location independently of the schedule of a mail delivery worker. The successful implementation of drones revolves heavily on the use of sensors, and the successful integration of the mechanical, electrical, and software components that make them work. In terms of technical hurdles, autonomous vehicles must have complex control systems that respond quickly to any and all obstacles. These characteristics are exactly what the mechatronics discipline deals with, and mechatronics engineers would be integral in the development of this idea that could positively benefit the lives of millions of people.

Brar, S.Rabbat, R.Raithatha, V. Runcie, G.Andrew Yu (2015,November 8). Drones for Deliveries (Rep. No. 2015.11.8). Retrieved July 13, 2016, from Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology website: http://scet.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/ConnCarProjectReport-1.pdf

This paper, which was created in an open classroom environment within the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at UC Berkeley, provides an in depth examination on the current climate of package delivery using drones. The authors, after looking at current strategies of relevant companies, technological capabilities, and limitations of delivery drones, conclude that the idea will eventually be successful in the last mile delivery space(17). While the report delves heavily into the financial aspect of the concept, it also provides a good summation of the current state of technology related to drone delivery. In general, it is a good resource for those looking for current solutions for existing technical hurdles, such as battery life, charging technology and flight planning, which is useful information for the design of a drone.

French, S. (2015, December 15). Drone delivery is already here — and it works. Market Watch. Retrieved from http://www.marketwatch.com/story/drone-delivery-is-already-here-and-it-works-2015-11-30

This article, written by drone reporter Sally French, explores an already existing and successful drone delivery service from a tech startup called Matternet. The article breaks the process of the delivery down step by step, detailing some of the technical capabilities of the drone, as well as the technical decisions made by the company to create a successful service. Though the drones were implemented to only delivery medically related supplies in other countries, such as Switzerland, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, the company is a useful case study of what goes into the successful application of a similar drone delivery service in other parts of the world. For an engineer, many of the decisions made by the company, such as the use of landing pads on both the sending and recieving ends, can influence the conceptualization phase of drone design.

Carr, E. B. (2013, March 27). Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Examining the Safety, Security, Privacy and Regulatory Issues of Integration into U.S. Airspace. Retrieved from http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/sp-Drones-long-paper.pdf

This publication, produced by a large public policy research organization called the National Center for Policy Analysis, compiles past and current information regarding unmanned aerial systems. The paper reviews the history of unmanned aircraft, examines a plethora of issues regarding the implementation of aerial drones into the national airspace, and concludes with a number of recommendations to work through these issues. In terms of technical relevancy, the paper provides a good description of the security and privacy issues that have to be considered before drones can successfully be deployed in residential areas. This information is especially important to those working on drones within cities, since it can help set a threshold for what it means for a drone design to be safe in public places.

Bacon, J. (2016, February 25). Special delivery: Ground drones coming to America. USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2016/02/23/special-delivery-ground-drones-ready-roll-england/80792992/

This relatively recent article, written by USA Today journalist John Bacon, informs of a British company named Starship Technologies and their development of a land based delivery drone. The article provides an overview of the service, and details some of the technical decisions made by the company, such as a four mile an hour travel speed, real time tracking of the vehicle by the customer, and use of cameras for human oversight for theft prevention. Even though the company is still in the testing phase of their service, this source provides an excellent case study for the initial implementation of land drones for package delivery, a not so common approach to last-mile delivery.

Amzajerdian, F.Pierrottet, D.Petway, L.Vanek, M.DEVELOPMENT OF LIDAR SENSOR SYSTEMS FOR AUTONOMOUS SAFE LANDING ON PLANETARY BODIES [Scholarly project]. Retrieved July 13, 2016, from http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20100036247.pdf

This report, produced by the esteemed NASA Langley Research Center, describes the development of Lidar sensors under the Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance project. The paper describes three different Lidar sensors and details their individual functions and capabilities as they relate to future missions involving precision landings on the Moon or Mars. The authors provide technical diagrams and quantifiable data to thoroughly characterize these Lidar systems. While the report is focused solely on applications for landing on planetary bodies, the technical features of the sensors, which include the generation of elevation maps, hazardous feature avoidance, and highly accurate ground velocity, distance, altitude, and attitude data, are all very relevant to and can be used for the application of delivery drone technology.

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