Design consultancy PriestmanGoode has unveiled its vision of future cities where drone technology will help mitigate the rising problems of traffic congestion and environmental pollution.

The reputed design and innovation company used the global platform provided by the GREAT Festival of Innovation in Hong Kong to launch Dragonfly, their concept of an integrated drone delivery system for urban areas to support the growing demand for delivery logistics triggered by the booming online retail business.

Addressing the ‘Future of Travel’ panel session during the launch of Dragonfly, Paul Priestman, co-founder and chairman of PriestmanGoode explained how cities can be adapted to accommodate drone technology, relieve congested roads in urban areas, and solve the last mile parcel delivery challenge.

Observing how the online retail trade is adding more vehicles to already congested roads, and contributing to air pollution, he said drone technology has the potential to power delivery logistics in the future in an environment-friendly way.

PriestmanGoode’s concept also addresses concerns associated with packages flying overhead by creating a parcel delivery system that is less robotic and very non-threatening.

PriestmanGoode’s vision also includes using autonomous barges on rivers as mobile distribution points and charging stations with the ‘Dragonflies’ picking up their parcels, passing between buildings with soft analogue movements, and docking on landing pads on the sides of buildings, and on the rooftops.

According to Priestman, the e-commerce industry is already trialling deliveries using drones. However, their Dragonfly concept goes a step further by imagining cities of the future being adapted to accommodate drone technology; for instance, buildings could be designed to enable access from different levels, and not just the front door while the banks of rivers will be used as major transport corridors supporting the delivery of the drone network.