Andreas Raptopoulos

Airborne logistics activist
Andreas Raptopoulos and his colleagues are building the flying internet of things, using drones to carry essential goods to otherwise inaccessible areas.

Why you should listen

It's a modern-day truism that, in regions where the phone company never bothered to lay network cable, locals quickly adopted mobile phones -- and then innovated mobile services that go far beyond what so-called developed countries have. Could the same pattern hold true with roads?

Andreas Raptopoulos is hoping to find out with Matternet, a project that uses swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver urgent items -- think emergency and medical supplies -- to places where there are no driveable roads. Imagine a sort of flying bucket brigade or relay race, where autonomous quadricopters pass packages around a flexible network that behaves something like the internet -- but for real goods.

Raptopoulos is a designer, inventor and entrepreneur. Prior to Matternet, he founded FutureAcoustic, a music platform that adjusts to the listener's environment. 

What others say

“Andreas Raptopoulos is willing to admit his idea is kind of out there.” — All Things Considered, NPR

Andreas Raptopoulos’ TED talk

More news and ideas from Andreas Raptopoulos


15 years of drones at TED, in five GIFs

November 20, 2013

In 1998, aircraft designer Paul MacCready gave a live demo of his two-ounce unmanned surveillance drone on the TED stage in Monterey. “You see what it sees. Imagine you’re a fly,” he told the assembled audience, who watched the drone’s footage projected onto the screen in front of them. (The moment is captured in the […]

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Drones: will they save us or destroy us?

November 17, 2013

This week, we’ll be taking a deep dive into a provocative topic: drones. For all the rhetoric, you might think think that this is a zero sum game: Drones will either destroy the world, or they’ll save it. The truth, of course, is that, well, they’re set to do both. Sophisticated developments see extraordinary advances […]

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