Retina scanning drones to make secure aerial deliveries soon

The UAE has built a prototype unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of carrying documents for delivery to individuals, after scanning their eyes and fingers.

Quadcopters making deliveries is already something Amazon has announced it's looking into. But building one and overcoming the huge security and regulatory issues associated with it are two very different things.

That's why this instance is special, as the drones were made by the UAE government which says it aims to have them in use countrywide within a year. Six months of testing in Dubai is planned before then.

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The 18-inch wide quadcopter will be used to deliver documents like passports and driver's licences to citizens. It will carry the documents in an upper cargo compartment that remains locked. On arrival the quadcopter will use retina scanning and fingerprint recognition to unlock access for the recipient.

Exciting as this is there are still a lot of hurdles to clear. For one, the drone will have to withstand the extreme heat and sandstorms of the UAE. Beyond that hackers have already created drones capable of hijacking others - making theft a real possibility. Finally there's the track record of the UAE, which proposed the world's first carbon-neutral city. That half-finished attempt is still sitting in the desert.

Unmanned drone delivery services are coming. But when their creators overcome the issues, another issue comes up. If we see these in use within a year we'll be very happily surprised.

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