The P2P Revolution in Transportation (2): moving things

“The Autonomous Roadless Intelligent Array (ARIA) is an open source autonomous logistics infrastructure that leapfrogs traditional road infrastructure”. At Burning Man 2012 and after: “ARIA and are developing an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). We will be delivering a system that is capable of tracking a person (via GPS-enabled tracker) and delivering a payload to their dynamic location via an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).”

There a number of important initiatives in the world of logistics. One is a move towards more open supply chains, which we cover here; the other is a reconception of the way me move things, seen from a P2P perspective.

Matternet Inc. is a startup based in Palo Alto, California, which aims to create “the next paradigm for transportation using a network of unmanned aerial vehicles”, the basic idea being the global capacity to send any object to any other place or person, using drones, or ‘unmanned areal vehicles’.

There is a open source fork of the project which aims to use ‘open source drones’, called Aria, the Autonomous Roadless Intelligent Array, and which will be tried out at this year’s Burning Man:

“The latter group has a grand idea: creating an Internet-like network of AAVs that could one day allow someone to make a one-to-one sale with anyone in the world or send medication quickly to where it’s needed most, simply by delivering goods on a flying autonomous vehicle to its destination. But before Aria (that’s the name of Matternet’s open-source group) does that, it’s teaming up with ReAllocate–an organization that’s building a network of designers and engineers who want to use their expertise to work on humanitarian issues–for an experimental project at Burning Man (if Aria can secure tickets; that’s still up in the air).”

Ariel Schwartz explains:

“”The ground stations are like the routers of the Internet. They can extend range and capacity of the drones,” explains Arturo Pelayo, the co-founder of Aria.

Pelayo imagines all sorts of uses for the open-source drone network once it gets up and running: HIV tests that can be quickly delivered to labs, eliminating potentially deadly waiting times; medicine delivery in remote areas; even observing permafrost disappearance and other global warming-related changes. Eventually, the UAVs might be able to transport people–but that’s not a priority. “If we make it easier for a villager in Africa who is manufacturing small necklaces to ship products through a cheap and ubiquitous network, their need to go into the cities is reduced dramatically,” says Yasser Bahjatt, co-founder and CEO of Aria.

Pelayo emphasizes that Aria will not build its own drones; rather, it will offer hardware as a service. “We are going to have hundreds of vehicles in the air, and we need to find a way to have an artificial intelligence network to maneuver traffic,” he says. Aria will be in charge of that network, while others can build open-source vehicles and applications–in other words, people can decide individually (or as part of communities) how they want the network to serve them.”

Watch the MatterNet introduction video here:

The Matternet Vision from matternet on Vimeo.

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