Matternet — the Internet for Physical Transportation

In addition to my interest in LENR I’m always interested in looking at new innovative ideas, and here’s something I just came across that I thought readers here might find interesting. Like many good ideas, it’s very simple, but it’s easy to see the benefits it can bring.

Matternet is a startup company based in Palo Alto, California and has come up with an intriguing idea of setting up a transportation network using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones). Hundreds of millions of people live in parts of the world where there is no decent road infrastructure — and hundreds of millions more live in metropolitan areas where traffic congestion makes transportation very difficult. Their proposed solution is to create a transportation network where UAVs transport goods by air. To begin with they are talking about delivering lightweight packages for items like medicine and high value consumer goods, but they see the capabilities expanding over time.

For a good introduction to how the, here’s an address by Andreas Raptopoulos, one of the company’s founders given at a Google Solve for X meetings in 2012.

The Matternet team has recently carried out field trials of their network in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and Rastopoulos reports that they couldn’t have been happier with the reception they recieved. Here’s a clip of medicine being delivered to a camp set up after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

This is not the only drone-delivery concept out there, but it seems to be one with a well defined vision and a serious team in place to try and make it a reality.