Yes, our Swapit Air announcement on April 1st was an April Fool’s Day joke. We had a lot of fun with it! 🙂
To be very clear: We do not have a drone fleet nor have we launched any such service in Hong Kong.
I would like to point out that the feedback we received over the last couple of days has been very very good. If we would have actually launched Swapit Air, we would have gotten a lot of media coverage.
Thanks a lot to the great folks at Sky Drone who played along well in our April Fool’s Day joke.
To be honest: Even though, it sounds futuristic or as some put it “too good to be true“, from a technological point of view, Swapit Air is doable. However, from a regulatory point of view, it is challenging to launch such a service. Most countries in the world have no legal framework to either allow or properly regulate such services. However, if you are interested in drone technology – especially for command & control and video transmission over extremely long / beyond-line-of-sight range – please do reach out to the Sky Drone team. They’d be happy to help you out and get you up and running in no time.
THOUGHTS ON DRONE DELIVERY
During the process of thinking about Swapit Air, writing the press release, composing the blog post and creating the artwork, I more and more realized that Hong Kong would actually be a perfect place for launching drone delivery.
There are several structural challenges in most other countries, which Hong Kong does not have due to the places people’s homes are located at. Let me point some of those factors out. My secret hope is, that the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department CAD is reading this.
- Building Proximity
Due to the fact that Hong Kong is the #2 city in the world with most high-rise buildings and they are all in very close proximity to each other, flight time between two buildings would be really short. That means less energy (=electricity) and less delivery time is needed, which drives down costs significantly. A short delivery time also warrants for a superior customer experience.
- Population Density
High population density means, that by servicing just one building, up to a thousand people could be connected to a drone delivery network. That’s very cost efficient and provides a stellar public service.
- Empty Roofs
Usually, building roofs in Hong Kong are not utilized. They are mostly reserved for maintenance equipment, air-conditioning and as fire escape locations. Though, I am not sure if it’s wise to be trapped at the roof of a 60 story building when all the floors below are on fire. Yet, in an every-day scenario, those rooftops are just sitting there empty. Hong Kong landlords are all about maximizing rental income. You can see that by every other roof hosting network cells of mobile carriers, which the landlords collect rent for. So deploying drone landing and launchpads at those roofs as well, would extend their purpose and increase rental income of landlords.
- Easy Flight Paths
Using roofs as take off and landing locations for drones, removes a lot of obstacles urban environments in big area countries have. The drone could just take off vertically and climb to an altitude of say 50 meters above the tallest building in the city. Then it flies directly to the destination building and vertically descents to land on the landing pad to drop the parcel. It’s a simple take off, fly a straight line and land scenario, which could be done ensuring high safety standards and short traveling and transport times. In other countries, drones would have to land at a different landing spot for every single customer / parcel destination. That creates an incredible about of possible scenarios such drone deliveries would need to be able to handle. Imagine simple things like landing in the front yard of a house where the kid left his or her skateboard at. Such unexpected conditions make it near impossible to operate a safe and cost-efficient service.
So never say never. We might just announce a service like Swapit Air in future. It is now at least clear that people love the idea and are interested in using it. So stay tuned into our Swapit blog. We’ll for sure post some more exciting and real-live innovation very soon!
Have you tried Swapit yet? Even without Swapit Air, it’s the best marketplace to buy and sell pre-loved and new products. Download is free: http://get.swapit.la/now