Homes with drone landing pads to hit the market within five years

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Tony Gilbert uses drones for aerial mapping. IMAGE: Claudia Baxter

A Queensland builder has predicted a new wave of home designs incorporating drone landing pads could hit the property market in as little as three years.

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While it may sound like the plot of a Ken Saunders book, it could in fact become a reality in just a few years.

In Saunders’ book 2028, there are no longer postal delivery by postmen/women. Instead, drones deliver the mail and provide surveillance for ASIO.

Saunders said he wrote the first draft of his “comedy” novel 2028 in 2015.

“It wasn’t so much an attempt to predict the future, but more to describe a world where some of the not very good ideas around today have developed in slightly preposterous ways that sort of make sense, almost.”

Saunders put pen to paper in a comical way, but builder Rivergum Homes design director John Eckert said the reality was that drone landing pads would become a viable option for new houses in the not-to-distant future.

An artists’ impression of Rivergum Homes’ future drone landing pads to be incorporated into Queensland homes.

“When I think of how online shopping has evolved in the last decade, it’s easy to see how this will affect the design of our homes to allow for a superior delivery experience,” he said.

“Looking to the future, drones would certainly offer a unique way of maximising roof space with the inclusion of landing pads integrated onto the roof or into backyard designs to meet the advances in lifestyles.”

Drone operator Tony Gilbert said drone delivery was an idea well worth exploring. IMAGE: Claudia Baxter

For drone operator Tony Gilbert, who specialises in aerial mapping for engineers, surveyors, developers, building designers and other commercial organisations, the future or drone delivery is not a joke.

“I think it’s a really great use of the technology, a logical use of the technology,” Mr Gilbert said.

“Anywhere where you can reduce the cost of ordinary everyday product by using technology, it’s well worthwhile exploring.”

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A year-long trial backed by Google, Project Wing, wrapped up in the ACT a fortnight ago; now the company has set its sights on launching the world’s first commercial delivery drone operation in urban Canberra before June.

Civil Aviation Safety Authority corporate communications manager Peter Gibson said the trial to deliver fast-food from unmanned aircraft in Bonython was the only one like it in the world.

“Google decided to come all the way from the West Coast of the US about two years ago,” Mr Gibson said.

“They said under Australia’s rules a lot of the regulatory issues they would have faced in America were already solved because we had a set of clear rules of what they could and couldn’t do.”

He said when it came to drone deliveries becoming mainstream, the world was still in trial and developmental stage.

“Particularly getting the unmanned traffic systems right so the drones can fly safely and navigate their way around without running into obstacles or themselves,” he said.

“If you’re a homeowner, it’s not something you could envisage using in the medium to near future, but in the long term it’s highly likely yes.”

Mr Gibson said the landing pads could have more practical applications, such as a portable structure to land a drone after a shark patrol on the South Coast of New South Wales he witnessed.

“Local council had paid a company to move up and down it’s beaches to do shark patrols and he had a little piece of metal on the sand with ‘H; on it, like helicopter and he put traffic cones in a circle 30m out so it would keep people away,” he said.

Mr Eckert said as drone delivery systems continued to be tested and explored, it was hard to put an exact date on when it will be integrated into day-to-day lives.

“But it’s certainly something that Rivergum Homes will be prepared for when the time comes, whether that be three or five years down the track.”

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No I think it’s really is a great use of the technology anywhere you can reduce the cost of ordinary everyday product.

Mainly we are assisting surveying and engineers survey principals across large area — time consuming and intensive we allow use those across large areas for roads and new developments.

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