Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }
PROTOTYPES

Train-drone delivery system could bring packages to your balcony

The two-part Iris delivery-system concept.

The Iris concept would use modified metros and drones to deliver packages for online retailers

Prototypes introduces new vehicle concepts and presents visuals from designers who illustrate the ideas. Some are extensions of existing concepts, others new, some production-ready, others far-fetched.

The Concept

The Iris concept is a two-part system, which would allow online retailers such as Amazon to deliver packages right to your condo by using pilotless drone carriers placed on top of modified mid-sized automated metros.

The Iris trains would run on electric motors.

The Background

Recently, Amazon's Department of Ideas invited me to participate in its Radical Transportation Urban Salon. At the time, I was working with Martin Rico on a special train concept called the 'Randvu' (short for Rendez-vous), and Amazon's invitation gave me the idea for the 'Iris.' Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the event, but we did create this concept.

Story continues below advertisement

Robotic conveyors would move packages from the cargo hold up to the train roofs for delivery drone pick-up.

How It Works

The Iris aims to speed up package delivery time by shipping products from the distribution centre located in a city's industrial district directly to your condominium's balcony. It combines parts of our Drone Tower, Upex and Ecotranzit concepts, and it could become a reality since it uses existing rail infrastructure and technology.

The Iris trains would run on electric motors and recharge their batteries through wireless inductive charging stations located along the rail tracks. The train's interior would look like a cargo bay where all packages would be piled in their order of delivery. Robotic conveyors would position each package on the roof so that delivery drones would be able to easily pick them up.

It would take a lot of drones to deliver all the packages from an Iris, but this could be done in off-peak traffic hours. The drones' batteries could also be swapped during a pick-up to reduce down time, and a spare battery conveyor could be used for that specific job.

Some packages will be heavier to transport and will require more powerful drones. I imagine that heavier packages will have specially designated common areas for drop shipments. Regulations for these new kinds of delivery systems will need to be built, and we hope that the Iris will help raise some questions in advance to speed up the legal process.

Larger packages would require more powerful drones.

What It's Used For

Consumers will always need supplies, and the faster they can get them at home or work, the better. Maybe one day companies DHL, UPS and Federal Express will start ordering rolling stock equipment like the IRIS to deliver their packages to your porch or balcony. And maybe Amazon will even go a step further and control the distribution from the factory to your balcony.

Martin Rico created the images for the Iris train prototype.

The Designer

Martin Rico created the images of the Iris concept. Rico lives near Buenos Aires. He studied design at the University of Buenos Aires and now works as a freelance industrial designer. Rico also designed the Seataci Yacht concept and the Sutton and Maui Snowboard and Surfboard mobile rental units. I would like to also thank Ashish Thulkar, who agreed to share his Drone Tower 3D Model with Rico.

Shopping for a new car? Check out the new Globe Drive Build and Price Tool to see the latest discounts, rebates and rates on new cars, trucks and SUVs. Click here to get your price.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Latest Videos

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies