Architecture

Aid delivery by drone project hits prototype stage

Aid delivery by drone project ...
The pilot scheme is expected to start operating later this year in Rwanda
The pilot scheme is expected to start operating later this year in Rwanda
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The building pictured should be very similar to those that will eventually be installed throughout Africa, assuming all goes well
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The building pictured should be very similar to those that will eventually be installed throughout Africa, assuming all goes well
The pilot scheme is expected to start operating later this year in Rwanda
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The pilot scheme is expected to start operating later this year in Rwanda
The prototype Droneport pictured is a simple vaulted structure comprising two outer layers of bricks made from a mixture of compressed earth and cement, with an inner layer of tiles
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The prototype Droneport pictured is a simple vaulted structure comprising two outer layers of bricks made from a mixture of compressed earth and cement, with an inner layer of tiles
The idea is that Droneports will be delivered on-site in kit form and include the basic formwork and brick-press machinery for locals to build their own models using the materials locally available
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The idea is that Droneports will be delivered on-site in kit form and include the basic formwork and brick-press machinery for locals to build their own models using the materials locally available
The Norman Foster Foundation has unveiled its first Droneport prototype at this year's Venice Biennale
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The Norman Foster Foundation has unveiled its first Droneport prototype at this year's Venice Biennale
A render depicting multiple Droneport units
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A render depicting multiple Droneport units
Architectural sketch and information on the Droneport
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Architectural sketch and information on the Droneport
Architectural sketch and information on the Droneport
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Architectural sketch and information on the Droneport

Drones are being developed to aid everything from the military to conservation groups, but delivering medical supplies to isolated areas seems a particularly good fit for the technology. The Norman Foster Foundation is developing such a scheme, and the first prototype Droneport was recently displayed at this year's Venice Biennale.

As we previously reported, the Droneport project (which also involves several other firms too) is intended to deliver medical supplies, spare parts, electronics, and e-commerce to areas of Africa, and possibly elsewhere, that are lacking in paved roads and other infrastructure.

The idea is that each Droneport will be delivered on-site in kit form and include basic formwork and brick-press machinery for locals to construct their own buildings using locally available materials. Each building will house a fleet of cargo drones with a range of up to 100 km (62 miles), delivering supplies to those that need it.

The pilot scheme is expected to start operating later this year in Rwanda and include three buildings by 2020, covering up to 44 percent of the country by delivery drone. Subsequent phases will build additional Droneport units in Rwanda, possibly delivering medical supplies to neighboring Congo and even further afield, eventually branching out all over Africa.

The prototype Droneport pictured is a simple vaulted structure comprising two outer layers of bricks made from a mixture of compressed earth and cement, with an inner layer of tiles
The prototype Droneport pictured is a simple vaulted structure comprising two outer layers of bricks made from a mixture of compressed earth and cement, with an inner layer of tiles

The prototype Droneport building currently on display in Venice, Italy, is a very simple vaulted structure comprising two outer layers of bricks made from a mixture of compressed earth and cement, with an inner layer of tiles. The building pictured should be very similar to those that will eventually be installed throughout Africa, assuming all goes well.

The Droneport's construction process was filmed and will be used to instruct local communities in Africa. Foster + Partners also says that the building could be installed in other areas, such as South America and parts of Asia, for example. In addition, besides drones, the firm posits that its vaulted building also serve as a market, school, or medical facility.

Source: Foster + Partners

3 comments
GlassHalfEmpty
Another idea detached from reality. All of these articles on this site, from mobile shelters to drones, always has "remote areas of Africa" and "disaster zones" as main usage. It is getting old.
Bob Flint
Not a single bit of information related to the actual "device"....you know the multi propeller battery operated delivery vehicles. Were do they get charged, land, secured from the elements...etc. All we see is an open dome shaped brick tent, might as well use a shipping container (as shown in the development photo) that would at least secure the support equipment, and the machines as well from not only the populous, mother nature's elements, & earthquakes. Plus have a sound surface to land, locate solar, & wind power equipment, water generation/collection,etc...
EH
The vaulting is very nice, and will be of use, if packaged appropriately. The instructions will have to be in rhyming chant, preferably with choreography. The drones, however, are a bad idea for many reasons that anybody who knows anything about the people of the region should already know. The maintenance on such delicate constructions is beyond them. Look at their trucks to see the kind of maintenance the drones will get. They don't send things to each other now, so they see no reason why they should. Also, they usually hate people who live miles and miles away, especially different tribes, at least to the extent that they think of things and people that aren't physically present. At best the drones fall to ruin, at worst you're giving people who usually use machetes the next generation of explosives delivery and guerilla warfare logistics capability.