LAWRENCE, Ind. — Dronedek, a company based in Lawrence, has developed the world's first 'smart mailbox' that is climate-controlled, secure and can receive mail and packages by drone.
"Ninety-one percent of all deliveries are five pounds or less, which makes them perfect for drone delivery," said Dronedek Chairman & CEO Dan O'Toole. "Dronedek can take the configuration of a vault in the ground. They can raise or lower. It can be illustrated like a mailbox. It could be on a balcony porch. It could be a roof hatch in a commercial building or for residents," he explained. "We have a lot of things on the drawing board and we're just excited to get it out and start seeing where we go with it."
Schneider Geospatial, a tech company in Indianapolis, is an early investor in Dronedek.
"I think there'll be a high adoption," said Schneider CEO Jeff Corns. "I think right now it's exciting, it's new, people are trying to figure out what it is. Drones are still relatively new, but I think you'll see the adoption. We're a tech company, we see adoption tech accelerating every day."
Right now, the Dronedek mailboxes are in a pre-revenue stage, but they are in talks with major delivery services like Uber Eats and DoorDash as well as the post office.
To make things more affordable, you can't buy a Dronedek mailbox as a user. The company only allows people to subscribe to one at a business or residence. They're hoping to pull all shippers and deliverers on the platform.
"We have 111 patent claims that we've either filed for or have already been awarded, things like a heated and cooled cargo area, open up delivery of food, beverage, pharmaceutical, cannabis, those kind of things," said O'Toole. "If you want to send something back, you can populate that on your phone, drop it in your drone deck (and) it gets picked up and goes back."
On Monday, Aug. 8, USPS mail will be delivered to the Dronedek mailbox for the first time ever. They will also deliver a McDonald's Big Mac and fries to the same mailbox via drone.