New drone mail system flys into Lawrence


Dronedek, a Lawrence-based company, has developed the first “smart mailbox.” The climate-controlled and secure box that can receive packages by drone debuted in early August with a traditional mail delivery, followed by a food delivery made to the mailbox.

“It went great. Historic event,” Dronedek founder and CEO Dan O’Toole said. “The future of package delivery is here.”

Dronedek is a tall rectangle with a mail slot in the front, a door in the back and a lid that will slide to open.

“The unit we used in Lawrence is a commercially sized mailbox. We’re iterating on all kinds of designs – something smaller for homes, something for rooftops or balconies or on trucks or boats,” O’Toole said. “There’s not really a limit on what shape or size it might take.”

The idea came to O’Toole in 2014 when he was driving and saw a drone flying over a field.

“That got me to thinking about drones and delivery. That thought process led to me thinking about how packages are often just dropped on porches and sidewalks and yards,” he said. “And I thought there had to be a better, more secure way to deliver packages, and that it wouldn’t be long before drone delivery would be part of the equation.”

Because O’Toole believed when one person had an idea, it was likely others would have it, too, he sketched out his idea and “ran to the patent office.”

“Which let me beat Amazon by nine days and USPS by two weeks with a device that would accept packages delivered by drone, or any other means, and keep them secure until they would be retrieved by the person who’d ordered them,” he said.

Dronedek can accept any kind of parcel from any kind of delivery mechanism – human, autonomous, drone, robot, etc.

“Our units will be of various sizes, depending on usage,” O’Toole said. “The commercial units will be larger than residential ones. We can’t accept a piano or a couch, of course, but we’ll be able to accept 90 percent of the packages going out in the field today — hot, cold, prescription drugs, pizza, letters from Grandma, you name it. We will also constantly iterate to meet market demands.”

“Right now, consumers big and small have to be on-site at their delivery address and quick to get them to ensure their packages will get to them,” O’Toole said. “I bet you know someone who’s had a package stolen. That stops when you use a Dronedek. There are safety issues, too, as there could be few people on the roads. There are a lot of benefits to using a Dronedek.”

O’Toole said there’s more to Dronedek than delivery.

“The units will provide flashing lights and an alarm to police or fire officials in case of emergencies; can help boost signals in areas with poor internet connectivity, repower drones and may eventually provide more precise data related to things like humidity, wind speeds and temperature,” O’Toole said.

Dronedek has more than 5,000 investors and is about to go out on another round via To sign up to be alerted for that launch, visit

To learn more about Dronedek, visit