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Author Topic: Courier Network (For real)  (Read 10438 times)
benjamindees
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April 20, 2011, 08:34:53 PM
 #61

What we need is a strong leader to make the courier network run on time.

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April 20, 2011, 09:17:05 PM
 #62

What we need is a strong leader to make the courier network run on time.
Who else but Megatron?

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April 21, 2011, 01:39:42 PM
 #63

Personally, I love the idea of flying, autonomous delivery services as much as the next guy, but I think this conversation needs some re-alignment.  The issue more presently at hand is that of a lack of decentralized distribution services.  I had an idea for such a system.

BitDrop.

Bitdrop would be a system for human "runners" to pass goods from person to person in the most cryptographically secure way possible. 

Person A negotiates a sale of an item to person B online.
Upon deciding on BitDrop as means of distribution, distance would be calculated and current gas prices would be tabulated.  This is the base shipping cost. 

Person A types in their "willing to travel" radius, and, the machine would chew on the data and randomly/securely spit back out an exact lat-lon point within that radius.

A nearby runner gets notified that a package is ready for distribution.  He's signed up with his own "willing to travel" radius as well.  Ideally, if there are enough warm bodies in the chain, the venn diagrams all start overlapping, and form a human supply chain.

Upon the completed transaction, all runners in the chain would receive good feedback (ideas for delivery confirmation? sms? scanned qr codes?), and get higher GPG rankings, which would enable them to deliver goods that had been marked with higher trust requirements...and likewise, the more you're trusted in in the chain, the more the runners can charge.  Seller wants to sell something of importance/high value? they can raise the trust threshold (and subsequently, the shipping rate)

As far as black market goods go, I've thought of this scenario.  The TOS for bitdrop would state specifically that transfer of illegal goods is strictly prohibited; however, you may anonymously mark your package "shaded" if you feel the contents pose risk for any member of the chain, including senders, receivers and most importantly, runners.  Shaded goods may be distributed exclusively via dead drops, and runners can opt into notifications of shaded packages, but only after a GPG trust threshold is passed, so a significant time expenditure is required before you go "googling for drugs".  You basically knowingly waive your rights when you deal with shaded transacations. That being said, I'm sure it would turn into a profitable venture for risk-takers, while keeping clean runners away from things that could land them in jail for trafficking.

There are other details I've thought of, including the distinction between dead drops and trusted drops.  Dead drops would be entry-points into the runner market.  Let's say I want to make some extra money, and I want to sign up as a runner.  I go to the bitdrop site and sign up for an entry-level position.  This requires that I pledge a deposit for the first item I'll deliver. This means that new runners will mainly focus on delivering items of little value.  It's a Low-risk, low-return scenario for everybody involved with the transaction.  Once I, the runner, complete my transaction, the deposit is returned to my account, as well as the base shipping cost + small delivery fee.  Part of becoming a runner is setting up GPG-Authentication. The buyer and seller then add ratings to my transaction, and after a threshold is reached, I'm allowed to forego placing a deposit on items of certain values or lower.  Eventually, dead drops would give way of chains with "trusted drops", where people who've established their trust arrange meetups based on encrypted lat-lon values and anonymous instructions. The specifics should be debated about at length to promote the safety and longevity of the chain Smiley

I don't expect my first ramblings to be the end-all-be-all of this system, but unless I'm way off base, I think the concept has potential.  I actually wrote up an extensive post detailing this idea yesterday, and stupidly hit f5 before I sent it, erasing my whole post instantly...  I'd love to hear feedback and concerns.



I think it's a great idea, especially the shaded package concept, and is doable. As a delivery network it won't be fast but I couldn't imagine it being more expensive than say USPO for national delivery.

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April 21, 2011, 02:05:41 PM
 #64

Wouldn't shaded packages just attract attention though? As a result, contraband senders would just not label their packages as shaded. Why not make all packages shaded?

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April 21, 2011, 06:36:03 PM
 #65

If you're going to go the airborne route - and I do think that's the most feasible currently for short-distance - then I think you'd be better off not landing at all. mount a smartphone with 3g connection on the drone, facing down. Set flight altitude to 50 metres or whatever is high enough to avoid any buildings in the flight path. When the drone reaches the dropoff point, check video from the phone to see that the area below is clear enough and drop down to 5 metres or so, maybe less. Then drop the package. Obviously you'll need a way to drop it, but that shouldn't be too difficult. Set the drone to automatically return after a few minutes of inactivity, in case something goes wrong - 3g fails, whatever.

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April 21, 2011, 07:42:40 PM
 #66

Packages could have accelerometers, GPS, and cell phones. When it lands it can send its location via text to the recipient.

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April 21, 2011, 08:22:26 PM
 #67

Another drone could come and retrieve it. Perhaps using something like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulton_surface-to-air_recovery_system

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April 21, 2011, 10:59:39 PM
 #68

I dunno... That seems to be going even more complicated. Cables (getting tangled in crap), a second recovery trip (more overhead), possible theft of expensive package containers...

exactly.  Start small.  We can think about all sorts of new technology in time...who knows, we might vast arrays of solar powered personal helicopter drones at some point in this crazy future....for now though, I say we reel it back in and try to come up with a solution using our primitive cryptography and blood/sweat
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April 22, 2011, 02:23:09 AM
 #69

o_o *looks around*

...

my mistake!

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April 25, 2011, 02:38:59 AM
 #70

Packages could have accelerometers, GPS, and cell phones. When it lands it can send its location via text to the recipient.

That is pretty expensive for a box. Would they be reused? If so, how?

Same as amateur high altitude balloonists. I have a Motorola 425i that I broke and installed some java that sends GPS (lat,lon,alt) to instamapper. That should get you close enough to see it or switch to other telemetry. Paid $35 for the phone $10 for the prepaid card.

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April 25, 2011, 06:30:26 AM
 #71

I dunno... That seems to be going even more complicated. Cables (getting tangled in crap), a second recovery trip (more overhead), possible theft of expensive package containers...

exactly.  Start small.  We can think about all sorts of new technology in time...who knows, we might vast arrays of solar powered personal helicopter drones at some point in this crazy future....for now though, I say we reel it back in and try to come up with a solution using our primitive cryptography and blood/sweat

That's fine and dandy, but this thread is about a robotic courier network.

It seems to me that most people here in this thread are trying to model the robotic courier network (RCN? RoCoN? RoCoNe? RoCoNet?) after something that already exists - humans. So why not figure out how humans do it most efficiently and justly first?

Robot see, robot do. (So do it right the first time)

I'm going to start a new thread for those who want to explore the human courier network (HCN? HuCoN? HuCoNe? HuCoNet?).
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April 25, 2011, 10:45:10 AM
 #72

I've already done this with BitDropor Shady Delivery Network.

http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=6279.msg92782

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benjamindees
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May 28, 2011, 09:06:47 PM
 #73

What about this.

A robotic ocean-going sailboat.

No fuel required.  No traffic/obstacles.  You can start out pretty small.  It would have instant value, as opposed to a more localized courier.

eg: http://thenextweb.com/2008/12/06/roboat-a-robotic-sailboat-powered-by-linux/

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May 29, 2011, 01:45:23 AM
 #74

No fuel, ok but what powers the electronics and servos?

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May 29, 2011, 02:17:45 AM
 #75

No fuel, ok but what powers the electronics and servos?
Wind/water turbines and/or solar.

I'd like to see a craft that mimics a shipping container, mostly submerged, slowly propelled with the juice from some roof mounted solar cells. Security through obscurity?

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benjamindees
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May 29, 2011, 02:28:12 AM
 #76

I'd like to see a craft that mimics a shipping container, mostly submerged, slowly propelled with the juice from some roof mounted solar cells. Security through obscurity?

Unfortunately, cargo ships use vast amounts of energy.  A decent-sized (20ft) vessel wouldn't generate enough electricity to overcome even a modest ocean current.  A collector area of 18ft x 6ft, for instance, could (even at 100% efficiency) produce only about 14 horsepower -- barely enough to troll around a quiet lake.

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May 29, 2011, 02:48:27 AM
 #77

What about floating container with an anchor? The seller would leave it somewhere in the ocean and then give its coordinates to a buyer. It would would like a meatspace Loom. Although, that idea isn't very robotic. I think the container would have to remain totally submerged, only to release its anchor and rise to the surface when the buyer came along and emitted a signal of some sort. There: kind of robotic.

...but not much of a courier.   Undecided

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May 29, 2011, 02:49:44 AM
 #78

The Colombians are doing some amazing things with submarines these days.

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May 29, 2011, 08:20:27 AM
 #79

This whole thread reminds me of that book by Daniel Suarez.
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August 30, 2011, 02:53:09 AM
 #80

Actually the whole Bitdrop project (that is the implementation of this network) stalled a couple of months ago (due to me not being able to give it the attention it needs) and then has come back to life.

I've got several people on board with me about this (developers etc.), a business plan, and soon we'll be IPO'ing on the bitcoin stock market (GLBSE.com) for funding.

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