Worldpay’s Drone Delivery Mat Identifies Customer Before Releasing Package

Some e-commerce customers never receive their packages. Worldpay, preparing for standardized aerial delivery, aims to solve that issue electronically.

With drone deliveries slowly but surely garnering more widespread testing and governmental authorization, a correlated increase in lost, stolen, or improperly delivered packages will undoubtedly come into play. Payments processing technology company Worldpay hopes to combat these issues with a new prototype system that secures proper payment before completing deliveries, The Telegraph reports

The system would involve a portable helipad-like mat issued to individual customers on which a delivery drone would land, electronically verify that it’s arrived in the right place, and authorize payment to the retailer before releasing the corresponding package. Each helipad mat is tied to a customer’s credit card (Europay, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, and other contactless payment cards) which the UAV can verify. Once it’s done so, it sends a signal back to the retailer and unlocks the drone’s payload. 

Worldpay produced a visual demonstration of its system in action. Let’s take a closer look.

The system was created to function with a wide variety of drones, which benefits both online retailers hoping to adopt this method as well as drone companies eager to attract retailers and supply the UAVs required to deliver their products. As for the arguably most important party here, customers would theoretically encounter substantially fewer failed deliveries or stolen packages through this system. 

The Telegraph reports that a Citizens Advice study found more than one-fifth of e-commerce customers in the U.K. reporting packages never even arriving at their destination. Since Worldpay’s system here relies entirely on a mat allowing delivery drones to verify a customer’s identity and authorize payment before relinquishing control of the payload, that would simply never happen. 

Additionally, Worldpay argues this system would help decrease ground-based congestion while improving delivery speeds for customers. Since UAVs are able to bypass infrastructure entirely, thereby reducing the number of vehicles on the road while arriving at their destination quicker, that’s simple math, and quite true. 

Of course, whether or not systems like these are adopted by corporate retailers is in the hands of regulators like the U.K.’s Civil Aviation Authority, who will eventually have to decide how (and to what extent) drones will be implemented in Great Britain. Until then, this is an impressive solution to an arguably valid problem, and surely, one that countless customers would appreciate.