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UND researchers could study using drones for deliveries

GRAND FORKS -- The way your mail gets to you could be changing on the University of North Dakota's campus. Soon, packages could be dropped at your doorstep by drones. Going to the post office is inconvenient for many people. "It was kind of a has...

You've got mail: researchers at the University of North Dakota could study using drones for deliveries
The University of North Dakota is testing flights that will open up the skies for broader commercial use of drones.

GRAND FORKS - The way your mail gets to you could be changing on the University of North Dakota's campus.

Soon, packages could be dropped at your doorstep by drones. Going to the post office is inconvenient for many people.

"It was kind of a hassle," UND senior Rebecca Sarff said.

But UND could soon test UAS as a method of delivering your mail.

"I think it's really nice to have something that's just brought to your door," Sarff said. "I know that sounds kind of silly."

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The Research Institute for Autonomous Systems is finding ways to improve our lives.

"You'd have these little mailmen running around the campus and it'd be an incredibly efficient way to move documents and things like that," Mark Askelson with the Research Institute for Autonomous Systems said.

But the mail is just one of those ideas. Researchers are hoping to test ways drones can help patients living in rural areas.

"How can we deliver medicine or food or those kinds of things?" Askelson said. "How can we use those kinds of technologies to help rural communities?"

The tests could take place as part of the new use for the Ray Richards Golf Course as early as this spring.

But campus leaders are hoping to get grants to fund the projects.

"We are going after large efforts that are hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars," Askelson said.

They're waiting for the state board of higher education to sign off on the plans.

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UAS researchers said they're working on how any mail systems would work, including where deliveries would be dropped off and it's too early to say when the tests could happen.

"I think it's gonna be pretty big," Sariff said.

Related Topics: UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA
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