The number one cause of inefficiencies when delivering packages comes from the last mile, ie. getting the packages to individual households in unreliable destinations with constantly changing routes.
What it does
BetterDelivery can decrease those inefficiencies to give consumers a better experience with timely reception of packages. BetterDelivery can receive real-time traffic information over the network to plan out the best route to travel in, and inform the driver this optimal route via a phone app. This information is also sent to a system in the back of the truck to control an end-effector (for demonstration purposes, it is a claw mechanism), which brings the identified optimum address's package to the front of the truck to eliminate any time the mail-person might take to look for the package while parked. This decreases time on the road, and makes for happier consumers!
How we built it
BetterDelivery integrates software, electrical, and mechanical components. The use of Arduino, Raspberry-pi, Mongodb, Java, Solace, and Android-Studio were used in the software development, while the 3D-modelling of the physical prototypes were done using SolidWorks, 3D-printed and lasercut, and then connected to an Arduino Uno.
Challenges we ran into
One of the biggest challenges relating to the mechanical portion in the designing and prototyping stage that we came across was the need to accommodate for the tolerances that come with 3D printing. A lot of the motors and components that we needed to use in the assembly were not available and had to be substituted by different mechanisms that didn't require those parts.
Troubles also arose when it came to integrating the software with the hardware, including the communication between the micro-controller and the software platforms that were used.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
With the hard work and dedication put into this project by all the team members, we are proud to present BetterDelivery as an elegant solution to the inefficient 'last mile' of delivery.
What we learned
Working on BetterDelivery gave us the chance to sharpen our software integration skills, and discover what possibilities are out there when it comes to software integration. We learned to work together in a multi-disciplinary environment and combine our skills and experiences together to make a working product.
What's next for BetterDelivery
BetterDelivery plans on improving the user-interface to make using the application more intuitive, welcoming, and user-friendly. We also plan on fine-tuning the software to allow it to run it faster and make it even more efficient. A coordinate system change from x-y to x-y-z will also be implemented.