PriestmanGoode unveils concept for city-wide drone delivery system

Industrial design studio PriestmanGoode has unveiled its vision for a fleet of urban delivery drones, which will feature in Dezeen's forthcoming documentary film Elevation.

Called Dragonfly, PriestmanGoode's concept is for an integrated system where autonomous drones become the primary service for mail deliveries in cities.

The aim of the project is to demonstrate how drone technology can be integrated into existing urban systems. But also, the studio wanted to show the positive impact drones can have on cities, helping to relieve traffic congestion, and in turn creating healthier living environments.

PriestmanGoode unveiled its Dragonfly concept today, which imagines a city-wide drone delivery system

"The rise in online retail is adding more vehicles to already congested roads, contributing to poor air quality," said studio co-founder and chairman Paul Priestman. "Combine that with rapid population growth in our cities and we have a problem."

The design is also intended to address the public's fears about drones flying over their heads every day.

"We wanted to create something that is non-threatening and which would enhance cityscapes," said Priestman. "This will be important in gaining public support for the future commercial use of drones."

The Dragonfly delivery drone is designed to be non-threatening

PriestmanGoode imagines the delivery drones working in conjunction with autonomous barges, which would act as charging stations and distribution hubs.

After picking up parcels from these mobile hubs, the drones would deliver packages by docking on landing pads placed on the roofs and sides of buildings.

The concept suggests that cities will eventually be adapted to support the introduction of large numbers of drones.

"What's new and interesting about our concept is the way we've imagined cities in the future being adapted to accommodate drone technology leading to a big step change in city development and does not require the use of the already congested road network," added Priestman.

The Dragonfly drone would deliver packages from mobile hubs based on barges

"Buildings, for example, could be designed to enable access from different levels, not just by the front door. The banks of rivers, where all cities first emerged, are used again as major transport corridors supporting the delivery of the drone network. And the drones themselves are designed to enhance busy cityscapes," continued Priestman.

Priestman unveiled the vision today, during a panel on the future of travel at the Great Festival of Innovation in Hong Kong.

The project is set to feature in in Dezeen's upcoming documentary ELEVATION, which will explore the ways that transport, deliveries, construction and architecture will all be transformed by drones.

The trailer for ELEVATION was screened during the panel session and is also available to watch here.

Dragonfly will feature in Dezeen's forthcoming documentary film ELEVATION

Paul Priestman is among a series of leading architecture and design voices appearing in the film, alongside Norman Foster, Liam Young and Mark Dytham.

He has long been a leading voice in the future of transport, and has worked on projects ranging from high-speed trains to aircraft interiors. In an interview with Dezeen earlier this year, he stated that self driving cars would "exacerbate congestion rather than improve it".

The full 20-minute version of Dezeen's documentary ELEVATION will launch in May 2018. Find out more at