Does owning a personal drone delivery mailbox sound like a far-fetched dream to you? Valqari, a drone delivery solutions company, is working to make this dream a reality for hundreds of families this year. And that too for just under $1,500. Here are the deets…

The last-inch delivery problem

Valqari is a Chicago-based startup working to solve the “last-inch” logistical problems. Yes, that’s the last inch of the last mile.

How do you guarantee that the parcel is being delivered to the right person? What can you do to make sure that the package is not getting damaged while being dropped? How do you avoid parcel theft from the front porch?

To solve these issues, Valqari creates automated multi-package drone delivery boxes. These huge devices give drones a safe and convenient landing space when delivering packages. Company cofounder Ryan Walsh explains:

When a drone is about 100 feet away from the mailbox, it starts pinging the mailbox to determine if it’s in the correct location. The mailbox brings up an elevator and the drone lands on it using a precision landing feature. The package is then dropped and the elevator carries it into the receptacle.

Read more: Flytrex expands on-demand, backyard drone delivery footprint in North Carolina

Interestingly, the company, which was founded in 2017, started commercial operations less than two months ago. Today, it already has 106 units in backlog with another 2,000 units in pre-orders. It’s also worth noting that in October 2020, AgEagle Aerial Systems, one of the leading commercial drone technology providers in the United States, entered into a two-year exclusive contract manufacturing agreement with Valqari to produce drone delivery stations.

Valqari’s smart drone delivery boxes are expensive though. Since they are meant primarily for business-centric applications, such as golf courses and office complexes, they can cost upward of $32,000.

So now, the company is building another version of these drone delivery drop-off lockers. This time, for single-family homes in suburban environments. Expect them to look (and work) something like this:

Interesting read: Drone transports human pancreas for the first time

These climate-controlled, residential boxes will come at prices competitive with other smart home appliances. “Less than $1,500” is the figure Walsh gave to Kevin O’Leary (Mr. Wonderful of Shark Tank) during the StartEngine Shark Pitch on Wednesday. He also stressed the delivery mailboxes will become available for sale later this year.

Patented drone delivery mailbox solution

It’s worth noting that Valqari has already been issued utility patents in 13 countries and territories. These include the US, the UK, Germany, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Australia, South Africa, and several other countries in the European Union. These patents already cover over 40% of the world’s population. And another dozen or so are in the works.

In terms of the ambition and scale of his startup, Walsh says he is expecting $12 million in sales next year. He concludes:

As commercial drone deliveries become inevitable, it will be a necessity that businesses around the world are equipped with Valqari’s complete solution. This will pave the way for the eventual progression into residential deliveries in urban, suburban, and rural areas, with Valqari’s long-term goal of eliminating the need for traditional mailboxes.

Also read: A rocket launcher that doubles up as a cargo delivery drone?

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