Drones could drive delivery text notifications

The rise of ‘drone deliveries’ could bring about a spike in text message volumes, as companies turn to SMS for delivery notifications.

Unmanned drones have been touted as the future of parcel delivery for a number of years; though it was retail giant Amazon that really established the idea’s viability when it started looking into rolling out a drone service of its very own.

Now, it seems the notion of driver-less deliveries could have a knock-on effect on text messages, with the humble SMS being used to notify customers when their package has arrived.

The first of its kind to operate such a system is Starship, a new start-up led by one of Skype’s founders. Starship sends unmanned vehicles out from stores to homes in the nearby area to deliver goods. Once the items are on their way, a message is sent to the consumer, so they can plan accordingly.

Starship is still currently in production, though real-world tests are expected to be carried out in the UK at some point next year. If it proves successful, the platform could be rolled out globally, especially with Skype’s financial backing.

It could also lead the way for other drone-based delivery services to use automated text messages when letting shoppers know their goods are on their way, or have already arrived.

Explaining his delivery device, Starship founder Ahti Heinla told bbc.co.uk: “It is designed to be 99 per cent self-driving, so the robot is constantly connected to the internet and there are operators who are ready to take over control of the robot in difficult situations.”