INDIANAPOLIS – Ready or not, the way people receive mail and packages is about to drastically change. On Monday, August 8, 2022, in Lawrence, Ind., (a suburb of Indianapolis) history will be made when traditional mail is delivered to the world’s first smart mailbox. That delivery will be followed by a McDonald’s Big Mac and French fries drop to that same mailbox via drone to Schneider Geospatial.
The postal delivery is part of a pilot project involving other Dronedek mailboxes, which are powered by Oracle, throughout the city.
“We’re showcasing how this mailbox is ready right now for traditional delivery and what it can do in the near future when federal regulations are relaxed to enable autonomous delivery,” says Dan O’Toole, founder and CEO of Dronedek. “We’re also marking the start of secure autonomous package delivery. It’s historic.”
The Dronedek mailboxes are located outside La Hacienda at 5625 Lawton Loop E Dr.; Culver’s 5525 N. Post Road; Bloomerang, 5724 Birtz Road; and Schneider Geospatial at 8901 Otis Ave. O’Toole says his company is in talks with major national delivery services, including UberEats, DoorDash and other major retail delivery companies.
Mayor Steve Collier said it makes sense that Dronedek chose Lawrence for its global headquarters and first launch site. The Fort Ben Tech Campus and City of Lawrence won TechPoint’s Rising Tech City Mira Award in 2020. Bloomerang is a current TechPoint Mira Awards nominee, and Schneider Geospatial is a two-time Mira Award winner.
“Dronedek chose to grow with us because we are rapidly becoming known as a city that encourages tech innovation,” he said. “We’d be happy to add ‘birthplace of the smart mailbox’ to our claims to fame.”
“McDonald’s French fries are the best and we are excited to watch this new delivery option,” said Eric Moore, McDonald’s franchisee. “Dronedek’s climate-controlled mailbox is a game-changer. We can’t wait to see Dronedeks become a delivery option for everyone everywhere.”
Marco Dominguez, spokesperson for La Hacienda, said his restaurant staff is thrilled to prepare drone-delivered meals, too.
“This is where the food delivery business is heading,” he said. “We’d love to be among the first restaurants in the country to offer delivery via drone.”
Ross Hendrickson, CEO of Bloomerang, said his team is just as thrilled to be among the first to see their lunch arrive from the sky.
“The pandemic got us used to delivery, but this is next level,” says Hendrickson. “We’re a tech company, so we’re early adopters. We’re also serious about delivering to our customers and to our team.”
Jeff Corns, CEO of Schneider Geospatial, said it won’t be long before Dronedek mailboxes will be routine.
“Robotic delivery at Purdue University was a novelty when that began, and now, no one even thinks about sharing the sidewalk with those devices,” adds Corns. “The pandemic really increased consumer demand for delivery, and consumers want faster, more secure ways of getting their products. Dronedek solves for that in a really cool way.”
Industry experts project double digit growth in the drone delivery sector in the next few years if regulations ease and guidelines are established. Companies like Amazon and Alphabet say drone delivery is the future of e-commerce fulfillment.
Dronedek is one of the first companies in the world to focus on package security for traditional and autonomous delivery methods. Learn more at www.Dronedek.com. See videos at Dronedek: The Next Generation Mailbox and New Dronedek Smart Receptacle.