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Open source project to build RPi powered smart delivery boxes to avoid Covid-19 contact

May 21, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 535 views

Techbase has launched a #CoronaIoT project that plans to build a wireless-enabled, open source Smart Delivery Box for contactless package delivery based on the Raspberry Pi and ESP32.

Embedded Linux has already begun to play a role in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in products such as open source ventilators and fever-ID equipment. Even beyond products aimed at coronavirus-related applications, the embedded tech product pipeline has continued apace, although a looming global recession will likely have an impact. Meanwhile, as explored in this recent Wind River Covid-19 survey, tech vendors and their customers are evaluating different strategies for adapting to the times, including taking advantage of this transitional period to accelerate digital transformation.

A new #CoronaIoT project recently launched by Techbase envisions one such transformation. The Polish embedded firm aims to use open source embedded hardware and software to address various Covid-19 related Internet-of-Things applications. The initial project is a Smart Delivery Box that would reduce the need for contact between package delivery personnel and customers. Techbase is seeking ideas and participation from the open source and industrial communities.



Smart Delivery Box conceptual illustration
(click image to enlarge)

Based on the Raspberry Pi and ESP32 MCU platform, the wireless-enabled box designs would be available in a variety of sizes and options. Techbase is known for its industrial automation controllers based on low-cost hacker boards such as the Raspberry Pi based ModBerry M500.

Last June, Techbase launched a Raspberry Pi 4 based version of the ModBerry 500. It also offers a Moduino controller based on the ESP32.



Latest ModBerry M500 with Raspberry Pi 4 (left) and ESP32-based Moduino
(click images to enlarge)

Even prior to the novel coronavirus, smart delivery box and locker solutions were becoming increasingly popular due to the rise in ecommerce. Neighborhood, apartment complex, or office campus smart lockers can avoid the problems of small-package home and business delivery, especially in cities. Smart boxes can mitigate problems such as the risk of theft, the inconvenience of having to stay home for a delivery appointment, and the growing congestion, double-parking, and the resulting pollution and carbon emissions from thousands of delivery trucks looking for parking places.

Covid-19 has added a new advantage to using smart delivery boxes: the need to avoid contact between delivery people and customers. Techbase’s proposed Smart Delivery Locker would enable users to specify a set amount of time between package delivery and collection to prevent infection hazards from handling.

Contents would be monitored to show authorized customers and package delivery people whether a package had arrived. Techbase suggests using NB-IoT, LoRa, and 3G and LTE technologies for communications. Smart Delivery Lockers could be designated for one-way or two-way delivery and could come in different sizes customized for single households, apartment buildings, or offices.

 
Further information

More information on the proposed Smart Delivery Box, including a project sign-up form, may be found at the Techbase hosted #CoronaIoT project website.

 

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