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Assignment 5 – Final Project Proposal – Drone Delivery of Humanitarian Aid

Drone Delivery of Humanitarian Aid

Dennis, Elibby, Jared, Jennifer

City College of New York

ENGL 21007

Professor Elizabeth Von Uhl


The Covid-19 pandemic came, ravaged our densely populated society, and claimed many lives along the way. It forced our society to shut down, making it extremely hard to get important goods, such as medicine and food to the people in need. Therefore, it highlights the need for separation during extreme times and forces us to consider new ways of delivering essential goods while reducing human exposure. We propose a simple solution: The delivery of essential goods by the use of a modified drone. A delivery drone will allow social distancing by eliminating human contact, and also the delivery of goods to any areas that are considered potentially dangerous for people.  

Table of Contents 

Summary………………………………………………………………………………..    1       

Introduction……………………………………………………………………………..    3

Proposed Program …………………………………………………………………….    4

Innovation Process…………………………………………………………………….    6

Appendices……………………………………………………………………………..    8

Press Release  ………………………………………………………………………    12

Tweet……………………………………………………………………………………..    13

Reference Page ……………………………………………………………………….    14

Key Terms

COVID-19 (Coronavirus): an infectious disease that spreads through person-to-person contact, and is currently a global pandemic

Drone: A remote-controlled, scale helicopter that utilizes four propellers for flight.

Payload: The maximum amount of weight that a drone can carry.


COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is reedifying health care and the lifestyle that we were custom within our society. COVID-19 is an infectious disease that results in symptoms such as fever, dry cough, aches, sore throats, difficulty breathing, and more. This virus is primarily spreading through person-to-person contact, where when an infected person coughs or sneezes, it can transmit the virus to another individual. (World Health Organization, 2020) Therefore, COVID-19 cases have been rapidly increasing and spreading throughout countries. Currently, there are about 3.6 million cases confirmed in at least 187 regions and countries. (Jazeera, 2020) Thus, to contain the spread of the virus, the government has implemented certain restrictions. Some limitations in some regions include wearing protective gear in public, limiting the number of products that can be purchased, canceling public gatherings, closing unessential workplaces, and country lockdowns. Furthermore, governments urge people to keep constant hygiene and to maintain social distancing of six feet. 

However, the implantation of restrictions has led to another ongoing issue. At this time, it is more challenging to transport and have access to essential goods. Many businesses, suppliers, and manufacturers temporarily closed, disrupting many supply chains and causing a shortage of goods during the pandemic’s peak. To continue, elderly and individuals with medical conditions, who are the most vulnerable to this virus. In America, there are more than 1.3 million living in nursing homes, and millions of other elderly are self-isolated at home (Dean,2020). Furthermore, going to stores results in waiting in long lines, empty shelves, finding unopened businesses, and being exposed. In some cases, companies like Walmart and Target are working to keep the stores stocked, but restocking usually takes a few weeks. (Lopez, 2020) Employees are quitting or calling in sick due to the fear of being infected with the coronavirus. As a result, to keep employees, global retailers and restaurants have raised their work wages by two dollars. (Cain, n.d.) In regards to the consumers, some are leaving empty-handed stores. Even more, there are underdeveloped or rural areas that are unreachable and currently affected by COVID-19. For example, La Rinconada, Peru, is located in Peru’s mountainous Puno province, and road delivery is difficult. Another example is Barrow, Alaska, a town that is only accessible by plane. This town has no sewage or water system. (Lakritz, n.d.) 

Proposed Program

Our nonprofit delivery program will use DJI-brand drones (modified with cargo-carrying undercarriages) to transport essential goods to high-risk individuals and locations during region-wide emergencies (such as COVID-19). This includes, but is not limited to, frontline workers, self-quarantine families and individuals at home, and nursing homes for the elderly. The goods would be sourced from nearby pharmacies, grocery stores, and other local businesses. Supplies that would be transported include basic groceries, pharmaceuticals, and other vitals. The transported cargo must be under five pounds and fit within the 8 x 6 x 4 in. crate attached to the underside of the drone. 

The program is expected to be adopted on a national level, but will operate within communities, towns, and other local areas. Considering that the run time and radio-control range of the drone is limited, operations must take place in its nearby vicinity. We estimate that the maximum delivery travel time going to or from the destination should take ten minutes or less. Several factors that affect this run time include wind, battery performance fatigue over time, and the weight of the delivery. Therefore, we estimate that the delivery time should be able to handle at least 6-8 minutes per direction of flight. As deliveries continue to be made, we will determine if these time allocations are sufficient or not, as well as investigate any shortcomings that cause lower run times. This can include swapping out for a bigger battery or decreasing the physical size or weight restriction for the cargo carrier.

Since we are proposing nonprofit operations, we will gather local volunteers to operate the drone deliveries. By joining our program, they accept liability for any fault of their misoperations or mishandling of the drone; but, unforeseen malfunctions of the drone or any other issues would hold DJI, our company, or the local business utilizing our program accountable for damages or failure to deliver.

Innovation Process:


The price of a DJI Mavic Pro is approximately $1,149.00. These devices are quite expensive, a loan, grant (some type of funding) will be needed to buy this item in bulk. The replacement parts of  the drone include the extra low-noise propellers with a cost of $25.00 and the Gimbal camera with the cost of $298.00. Additionally, the modification cost, which includes the undercarriage, has to be taken into account. A small 8 x 6 x 4 in. Polycarbonate undercarriage to allow for drones to make deliveries will cost around $7.00.


The materials needed to provide our drone delivery services includes;

  • The DJI-branded drone (aircraft) 
  • The remote control
  • A DJI-intelligent flight battery
  • Three 8330 Quick Release Folding Propellers (pairs)
  • A gimbal clamp and cover
  • A charger and power cable
  • 3 different RC connector cables
  • USB adapter
  • Communication cable
  • A Polycarbonate undercarriage 

Drone Specifications:

  • Drone dimensions when folded are 83mm x  83mm x 198 mm
  • Fully extended, the drone reaches a diagonal size of 335 mm
  • The Mavic Pro weighs about 1.64 lbs
  • 27 minutes of flight or 8 miles of travel on a full charge (no wind)
  • Max speed of 40 mph
  • Supports connection of smart devices with Lightning, USB-B, and USB-C ports
  • Micro SD allows for footage storage
  • Gimbal clamp allows for full camera rotation.

When fully extended, the aircraft reaches a length of 335 mm diagonally. The Mavic Pro weighs approximately 1.64 pounds. The payload of deliveries will add an extra 5 lbs of weight to the drone. Both appropriately sized recreational and professional drones are equipped to handle packages from 5lbs to 500 lbs, so the extra weight will not affect the functionality of the aircraft (“How Much Weight Can a Drone Carry? | Drone Tech Planet”, 2020). The aircraft allows for a total of 27 minutes of flight time. Depending on the delivery, a drone can complete multiple deliveries before it must be recharged. The Mavic Pro comes equipped with flight autonomy which prevents it from hitting obstacles during long distances or when descending from an inadequate height.  The aircraft also comes with a return to home mode. In the event of low battery or loss of connection, the drone will safely return back to the location where it left from (DJI Official, 2020).

Labor Power: 

Our funding for this project mainly comes from non-profits such as Google and the Kresge Foundation. Google offers its Impact Challenge which can provide non-profits with up to $125,000 if we can show that our project is a technological idea that benefits the community. In addition to the funding, we would also receive training from Google to help jumpstart our ideas. With community support, we also get a chance to win even more funding (Google, 2020). Another great investor is the Kresge Foundation which offers monetary support to nonprofits that focus their attention on humanitarian efforts. The Kresge Foundation has been a major investor in the beautification of low-income areas and parks. Grants from this foundation spans from one to three years (The Kresge Foundation, 2020). We would need to gain clearance for drones to be usable. FAA guidelines state that drones should be flown at no higher than four hundred feet and should keep out of immediate contact of civilians. Our drones would also be clearly marked and have proof of registration. The correct authorizations would need to be obtained in order to fly in public airspace. After building a standing for ourselves, we would look to partner with Perfect Strangers, another relief aid non-profit. This company delivers groceries to high-risk communities and also maintains social distancing protocols. Partnering with them would allow them to use our drones in order to complete deliveries faster and accommodate more goods. 


Appendix A: Task Schedule

Section 1: Proposal Work Split

The purpose of this presentation is to propose a solution in response to a current issue. We decided to investigate some of the negative effects caused by the current pandemic. We found that when infection and death rates peaked, the supply and distribution of goods were highly limited. We decided to formulate a solution to this issue because of its ubiquity in society. Once we proposed a possible solution, our group split up the work and spent a week completing the various proposal components. Afterward, we combined our proposal work and created this presentation. Our group used a Slack group chat channel for communication.

  1. Gather ideas on issue and solution: Deadline April 27, 2020
  1. Work Split: Deadline April 29, 2020
  1. Summary and Appendices: Dennis
  2. Introduction and Press Release: Jennifer
  3. Proposed Program: Jared
  4. Innovation Process: Elibby

C)  Powerpoint Presentation of combined work: Deadline May 8, 2020

Section 2: Plans for implementation

We secured initial funding through the Google AI Impact Challenge. Therefore, this provided the necessary capital to get our first line of drones into the production stage. We also closed a deal with DJI Enterprise to manage the production of the drone modification in their factories. The conditions of the deal state that we provide and ship the raw materials for modification, along with our design blueprints, to their production facility at no additional cost (under the guarantee of a minimum initial order of 50 units). Two-week production time has been provided. 

Our end goal is to secure a Partnership with Perfect Strangers, an NYS non-profit organization that delivers essential goods to residents at risk for exposure to the virus. We will attempt this by demonstrating the capabilities of our delivery drone. A prototype of our drone has been completed and will launch on May 10, at noon at CCNY. A representative from Perfect Strangers has agreed to attend our initial launch.

  1. The initial funding secured through Google AI Impact Challenge: May 9, 2020
  2. Initial launch of Drone Prototype: May 10, 2020
  3. Secure Partnership with Perfect Strangers: May 10, 2020
  4. Shipment of materials for initial production of drones: May 12, 2020 
  5. Production of Delivery Drones (includes production and delivery time): May 30, 2020
  6. Implementation of drone delivery program: June 3, 2020

Appendix B: Evaluation Techniques

  1. We evaluated the cost of the delivery drone by combining the separate costs of the drone and the polycarbonate plastic carriage. 
  • The cost of the polycarbonate modifications was based on a unit price of $148.80 for a 96 x 48-inch sheet of polycarbonate plastic (Acplastics, Inc., 2020), which is roughly 3.22 cents per square inch. 
  • The production of the polycarbonate carriage requires two sheets of 8 x 6 in., two sheets of 4 x 6 in., and two sheets of 4 x 8 in., amounting to a total of 208 sq in., bringing the cost of a modification to about $6.72 per drone. 
  • The cost of raw materials is based on the unit prices of each individual part. It does not account for bulk orders, which could potentially lower the overall costs of the delivery drone.

B) Drone Brand/Model: The brand and model of our drone were based on a few factors

  • Accessibility of parts 
  • Accuracy and performance of flight
  • Overall value

C) Results/Success of Delivery Drone: The results and success of our delivery drone program will be evaluated based on the successful delivery metrics 

  • The delivery metrics will be based on the number of successful deliveries made within a given time frame. A delivery rate of 92% will be considered a success for our delivery program.

Appendix C: FAA Guidelines for Rules and Regulations of Drone Use 

(For certified remote pilots including Commercial Operators) 

  1. Unmanned aircraft must be less than 55 lbs.
  1. The drone must be in the visual line of sight of the remote pilot.
  1. Drones may not operate over people not directly involved in the operation, nor within buildings or covered structures.
  1. Daylight operations only (30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset)
  1. Maximum ground speed of 100 mph and a maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level
  1. No carriage of hazardous material
  1. A person may not operate a drone if that person has any physical or mental condition that would interfere with the safe operation of a drone.



New York, NY: The technological company is announcing the launch of the first DJI Mavic Pro delivery Drone- The City College of New York on Sunday, May 10 at noon in front of the Marshak Building- The City College of New York(160 Convent Ave, New York, NY 10031)

The DJI Mavic Pro modified drone, equipped with five vision sensors, allows the drone to sense obstacles up to 15 meters away and reduces accidents. Moreover, the DJI Mavic Pro modified drone can capture images during high speed with a 4K Ultra HD video, has a rotational camera, and noise reduction. This programmed drone has a carriage underneath that delivers goods to different destinations.

During this global pandemic, it has been more challenging to transport and have access to essential goods. Whereas, going to stores results in waiting in long lines, empty shelves, finding opened business, and taking the risk of being exposed. This drone’s objective is to assist with the surge of the consumer’s demand and the vulnerable population.

Come join us in launching this innovation in efforts to supply help during these difficult times for everyone. In this launch ceremony, we will be thanking the essential workers and those in the pandemic’s front lines. We hope the delivery drone can assist and be helpful for many individuals.

For more information, please contact us at techdrone@live.com or at (917-8282 2222).                                                                             



Reference Page

AC Plastics, Inc. (2020). White Polycarbonate Sheeting. 

Retrieved 2020, May 09, from 


Amazon. (2020). [Image]. Retrieved 9 May 2020, from https://www.amazon.com/DJI-Mavic-Pro-Quadcopter-Battery/dp/B01MUAWOXB.

Cain, Á. (n.d.). 9 retailers that have hiked wages during the coronavirus pandemic. Business 



Dean, J. (2020). When disaster visits the vulnerable: The coronavirus threatens those who need care the most and strains networks providing help. World 

  (0888157X), 35(7), 1.

DJI Mavic Pro & Mavic Pro Platinum – Every Creative Moment – DJI. DJI Official. (2020). Retrieved 9 May 2020, from https://www.dji.com/mavic.

Grantmaking. The Kresge Foundation. (2020). Retrieved 9 May 2020, from 


How Much Weight Can a Drone Carry? | Drone Tech Planet. Drone Tech Planet. (2020). Retrieved 15 May 2020, from https://www.dronetechplanet.com/how-much-weight-can-a-drone-carry/.

Impact Challenge – Google.org. Google.org. (2013). Retrieved 9 May 2020, from https://www.google.org/our-work/google-impact-challenge/.

 ‌ Jazeera, A. (2020, January 25). Coronavirus: Which countries have confirmed new cases? Aljazeera.Com; Al Jazeera. 


Lakritz, T. (n.d.). The 20 most isolated places on Earth. Insider. Retrieved May 6, 2020, from 


Lopez, M. (2020, March 14). Grocery stores are working quickly to keep up as shoppers clear out 

numerous shelves. KMGH.


Tech Grants for Nonprofits. Whole Whale. (2020). Retrieved 9 May 2020, from https://www.wholewhale.com/tips/tech-grants-nonprofits/.

US Federal Aviation Administration. (2020). Certified Remote Pilots Including Commercial Operator (Part 107).

Retrieved 2020, May 09, from https://www.faa.gov/uas/commercial_operators/

World Health Organization. (2020). Coronavirus. Www.Who.Int. 


(2020). [Image]. Retrieved 9 May 2020, from https://www.dronenerds.com/products/drones/consumer-drones/dji-mavic/dji-mavic-pro-drone-4k-hd-camera-flightautonomy-djimavic-dji.html.

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