These Drones Are Already Starting to Deliver Medicine, Books, and Pizza..
An interesting article about drones appeared on Wired today. Practical applications are being researched, here are some of them:
THE NORTH SEA
Payload: Medicines like painkillers or anticoagulants
Method: Automated (but a pilot monitors the flight)
Status: A local ferry service makes daily runs to the island of Juist, but the drone is for urgent orders; the flight takes a mere 17 minutes.
COPTER EXPRESS OCTOCOPTER
Method: Preprogrammed via GPS and equipped with cameras monitored from the pizza shop; the pie is dropped down to the customer on a cable.
Status: If you're in Syktyvkar, just call Dodo Pizza and order Одну большую пиццу пожалуйста.
Payload: Antibiotics from the hospital in the Himalayan capital of Thimphu, at 7,710 feet above sea level, up to a remote mountain health clinic
Method: Automated (after operators program in the destination).
Status: Tests ran in August 2014, and a rollout is planned for 2015.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Payload: Saliva samples for tuberculosis testing, from Malalaua to the Kerema hospital; the drone shortens what can be a days-long overland trip to one hour.
Status: Tests ran in September 2014 in anticipation of a 2015 rollout.
GOOGLE X SELF-FLYING VEHICLE
Payload: Dog treats, cattle vaccines, and a first-aid kit for farmers
Method: Will be preprogrammed; once in position, it lowers the package on a line and a bundle of sensors detect when the package has hit the ground.
Status: It's still in the research stages.
Payload: Physics and law textbooks to University of Sydney students
Status: More testing is ongoing at the University of Nevada, Reno.