Network of personal delivery of goods

Short description

Currently the system of unit delivery is implemented (in most cases) on the basis of pneumatic tubes system. The area of their deployment is usually limited to banks, offices, warehouses to send paper correspondence and cash. We think that the role of pneumatic tubes in modern society, as a means of transportation, is unfairly undervalued and perhaps simply forgotten.

We suggest creating a network of personal delivery of goods (and the infrastructure for their construction) scalable for home, district, city and country. It can be realized by taking these "old" technologies of Pneumatic tubes and integrating them with modern technologies of information exchange, routing and security.

Imagine a situation where pneumatic delivery station is installed in every home, every apartment and presents a network of personal delivery of goods. This network could be the same public utilities service as electricity, water, heating, sewerage. This innovation would be able to radically change the way and the rhythm of life, as well as the design of residential premises. Imagine that your house is equipped with a small pneumatic delivery station. It may look like this:

Pneumatic delivery station
Pneumatic delivery station

On the nearby touch screen you can order the needed goods, indicating the desired time of delivery. It could be food, beverages, ready meals, medication, and any other products having the appropriate dimensions for transportation through the pneumatic system. Once you have your submitted your order it will be delivered to you in the shortest possible time from the local distribution center. Distribution Center - a "server of goods", a place where the delivery lines (pneumatic tubes) are connected to.

Therefore we get the following benefits:

  1. No need in shop trips for small purchases (cigarettes, milk, bread, vegetables etc.) - therefore reduced transportation costs.
  2. There is no need for a refrigerator (respectively we get more free space, and reduced electricity costs) - products are delivered fresh directly from the warehouse or store.
  3. There is no need for a stove; ready meals can be delivered directly from the restaurant.
  4. Necessary things (food, drugs, beverages and other items) are delivered in a short time (almost immediately) from the date of order. No need for storage and providing storage conditions (temperature for drugs or products; security for jewelry, valuable documents).

This project will lead to development of new businesses:

  1. Just as many ISPs provide functioning of the Internet, there will be many providers of personal delivery, who will provide transportation at the last mile and at the main channels and provide peering with each other and centers of distribution of goods. This is a new market, new opportunities and a new business.
  2. Food industry. Special companies will carry out orders from customers on the preparation and delivery of ready meals and beverages. At any time.
  3. Sales industry. People will prefer to make purchases over the Internet with instant delivery via pneumatic delivery system compared to shopping which requires a long trip to the store, sitting in traffic jams and suffering in queues.
  4. Warehouses. (products and different items do not have to be kept at home, you can entrust their safe-keeping to special companies that provide adequate storage conditions). The pneumatic post can always transport your belongings to a warehouse and back.
  5. New appliances with an ability to connect to a network of personal delivery. For example - a food processor able to cook any meal on demand will be able to order and receive the necessary ingredients.
For this project the existing appropriate technology of pneumatic tube systems can be used by improving it according to the peculiarities of the use (long distances, a large number of hosts, increased requirements for reliability in outdoor conditions).

Additionally, we believe, there are other things that need to be developed:

  1. A new system of global addressing and coding of correspondence (For example based on MicroRFID).
  2. The security system which ensures the traffic flow control.
  3. Delivery routing system (Router, routing protocols etc.)
  4. System of receiving and processing orders (Via phone, Internet etc.).
  5. New types of containers for different use: single-use, leak proof, insulating and so on.


  1. It is possible to reduce significantly the flow of urban road traffic that will lead to: reduction of CO2 emissions, improvement of environment, improved safety on the roads, etc.
  2. The mankind will save a lot of time getting rid of shopping for any nonsense.
  3. The system will help people with disabilities to make purchases without leaving home.
  4. Due to the fact that the goods are delivered in small fractions people will buy them more optimally, without buying extra goods.
  5. The price of the goods will drop due to the reduced transport costs.
  6. Cisco can harmoniously incorporate this idea into the concept of Smart Grid, providing a single point for charging of utilities services (heat, water, electricity, personal delivery service).
We think that the realization of this idea will revolutionize the field of trade and consumption, just as the Internet has changed the scope of information exchange.


I have been thinking a lot about physical transportation systems. I think pneumatic delivery systems could be a successful venture. I have been thinking about coupling the delivery infrastructure with a mass transit system. Sort of a physical backbone or "backhaul". I think a physical transportation system would be a great fit for a high density area and new development.
JohnBoyRox JohnBoyRox


Interesting idea.

You wrote: "I think that the role of pneumatic tubes in modern society, as a means of transportation, is unfairly undervalued and perhaps simply forgotten." Did you notice any reasons why it is so? Are there any major commercial and/or technological obstacles?
selas selas


Why were the pneumatic pipeline systems not widely spread? There are surely several reasons. But the time changes and I think that right now the technology will be demanded on the market.

The situation in the past:
  1. The transport problem was so acute as now.
  2. There were no cheap plastic pipelines.
  3. The identification, routing of shipments have been impossible without using modern information systems.
All this (and many other reasons) led to the fact that the connection costs were extremely high for private use. But most importantly, I think, it is the lack of a correct business. Projects were carried out by one company and have been each time isolated and unique. The approach has to be changed, it should be the same as the development of the Internet. Internet is evolving and expanding by forces of many companies. These are the communications equipment manufacturers, providers of the last mile, backbone providers, content providers etc.

All of them are doing their own business, but are united by common standards and regulations. (Protocols, addressing, DNS etc.) These rules and standards can be created now, thereby allowing many independent companies to get engaged in the development of this boundless market. Anna Gossen Anna Gossen


I agree that modern IP network mechanisms such as routing, QoS and even MPLS suites well to support optimal distribution of solid objects through pneumatic tube system network. MicroRFIDs are more suitable in this case compared to liquid based grid systems by my opinion.

Considering such system is feasible and profitable or not some interesting questions arise like: What are the max. cargo dimensions the system should support in terms of price/performance evaluation? What is the function of system price related to max. cargo dimensions allowed? What can be the killer apps?

On the other hand the system can be combined with traditional courier systems to optimize business case, especially in less crowded places. What do you think?
selas selas


Thank you for your interest to my idea. It is difficult at the moment to make any economic calculations, but I suppose that at the last mile the use of the pipelines 110 mm in diameter would be the best, the size of the (inner) container 230x82 mm, the weight of the cargo transported about 1.5 kg.

I think that would be a good idea to avoid the use of containers (capsules). The packaging of goods should be the ready container for transportation in a pneumatic delivery network.

In this case we can achieve the following benefits:
  1. Improved profitability of transport (no container).
  2. The volume and size of the payload is increased (no container).
  3. The operation of cargo packing into the container and backward is not needed (no container).
  4. Simplified waste disposal, since the goods are packed in one and the same material. No division into plastic, paper, metal, glass.
There is one drawback: special packaging will be required for goods transported in the network of personal delivery.

Nevertheless, I think that it's the future Anna Gossen Anna Gossen


it great idea. good luck anna.
Ahmed Sahlool Ahmed Sahlool


thank you. Good luck to you too! Anna Gossen Anna Gossen
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