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General Atomics CP-1 Pigeon

A personal electronic carrier pigeon to replace the USPS.
  (+11)(+11)
(+11)
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The CP-1 Pigeon is a tiny drone meant to replicate the function of a carrier pigeon for personal mail. It is a small remote control aircraft with a gasoline engine and a large enough fuel tank to fly round-trip to anywhere in the continental US or Europe. The Pigeon is guided by a small onboard computer and the destination can be entered remotely through a smartphone app. After the letter is carefully rolled and placed into the payload compartment the Pigeon will fly to its destination maintaining 500 feet above the ground by means of GPS terrain awareness - high enough to avoid ground obstacles but low enough not to get sucked into a jet engine.

Upon arrival the aircraft will land itself if there is a large enough open area. If there isn't a large enough open area it will crash through Grandma's window and likely explode. After delivery of the message it is simply tossed back into the air and it returns to the owner.

Advantages:

Faster than an actual pigeon

Faster than the USPS

No stamps required

No training or pigeon-keeping required

Narrowly skirts FAA regulations regarding UAVs

The personal touch of a physical letter instead of email

UPDATE - I just got a second idea for an upgraded version of this, so I'll just post it here: the CP-2 Personal Falcon. The Falcon is the same vehicle as the pigeon but with upgraded software, a camera, and talons. It will follow you wherever you go, orbit above you (tracking your smartphone) and land on your shoulder when called using a combination of the tracking signal from your phone and the camera. The PF app can even send commands to attack one's foes, or catch small animals for dinner.

DIYMatt, May 09 2013

project passenger pigeon https://www.faceboo...eon/417970044904114
[po, May 10 2013]

Exploding Bird http://www.youtube....watch?v=yljYO-wRtVA
not a pigeon, only marginally relevant to subject, only 31 seconds of your life [Sgt Teacup, May 11 2013]

RC Mailcars RC Mailcars
similar idea [pashute, May 13 2013]

IPhone controlled RC helicopter http://www.youtube....watch?v=vAs4Ry6THpY
[pashute, May 13 2013]

[link]






       Brilliant! [+]
Grogster, May 10 2013
  

       I'm not sure there's a market for robotic pigeons with narrow skirts, and surely they would inhibit leg movement while landing. Maybe something more like a kilt?   

       Ok, I give up, how come they are petrel-powered and not atomic as the title suggests?
not_morrison_rm, May 10 2013
  

       General Atomics was once a company that designed nuclear power plants.   

       When Darpa pulled funding for Leading Systems, Inc. the developer of Amber, the Predator predecessor, the company went bankrupt. General Atomics purchased the company and slightly modified Amber and renamed it Gnat, just in time for the CIA to express interest. They modified again and renamed it Predator,   

       The Predator and Reaper and Avenger are now General Atomics main lines of business.
Kansan101, May 10 2013
  

       Aha, now I understand.   

       But, they are going to run out of -er words for names sooner or later.
not_morrison_rm, May 10 2013
  

       And, for collection agencies, the sucker-mouthed Personal Mynock.
lurch, May 11 2013
  

       //Mynock   

       Or possibly a lamprey (non-parasitical) , with a small aqualung.
not_morrison_rm, May 11 2013
  

       Flawless.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 11 2013
  

       [+] See link to similar idea on land - I was thinking about the terrorism problem.   

       But with your idea in mind, I think I have a solution. Monitors in the city will check digitally that all flying CP1's are legit. The flight will be acknowledged only if both sides (sender and receiver) approve in advance. A special CP3- Digital Hawk will hunt down non legitimate CP1s and CP2s.   

       The only problem is that supposedly smart guys like Assange, Chomsky and Hawking will be funded by Ahmadenigad to create a group of hackers who will create a massive Hitchcock like BIRDS attack after taking over the system.
pashute, May 13 2013
  

       // The only problem is //   

       ... problem?
BunsenHoneydew, Jun 13 2013
  
      
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