TrayDrone was created by Prof. Dr. Jürgen Scheible from Germany’s Stuttgart Media University, and showcased at LivingKitchen 2019 fair. Using drones for deliveries isn’t a new concept, and Amazon themselves have been experimenting with the idea. But using drones to deliver small payloads within the home is certainly a novel idea — if not an entirely practical one. That said, most people would likely be intrigued by the idea of having a drone servant who can cater to your in-home item-retrieval whims.
To build TrayDrone, Dr. Scheible enlisted the help of drone prototype design firm Artfantasie. The designed a custom frame specifically for carrying trays up to 1kg, and integrated prop protectors to make it safe for the home. They also handled the electronics and flight controller programming. In the demonstration, a user asks Alexa to be brought a tray of food. A small doorway in the kitchen then opens up and the drone flies over to the kitchen table so the tray can be retrieved.
In reality, that entire process is controlled by humans. A drone pilot is situated in the next room over, and manually flies the drone over to the table when requested. After the drone returns through the doorway, the pilot loads up the next tray onto the drone. It’s a little disappointing that TrayDrone relies on a bit of trickery to accomplish its goal, but it does prove that people are definitely interested in the possibility of in-home deliveries.