The US Patent and Trademark Office revealed an Amazon.com, Inc. patent filing, which highlighted the e-commerce giants’ plan to propel its unmanned delivery service for commercial purposes. According to the approved filing, drone deliveries will be navigated by pulling location data from a customers’ smartphone — where real-time routes and directions are constantly updated to guide the delivery process.
Amazon outlined features for its smart aircraft that boasts capabilities such as interactions between each other regarding traffic and weather conditions. A pilot delivery screen also features a number of delivery-options for the consumer, including “bring it to me”— the complete tool to deliver packages to your home, workplace or even vacation points, using a simple deployment routine that has your packages dropped on point.
While there is no reason to suggest the patent approval will entail similar schematics, a variety of technical obstacles can be averted by a quicker interaction with the regulatory board.
From a technical and performance standpoint, various precautions and caveats have been appropriately confronted. A plethora of sensors, radars, sonograms and infrared camera have been detailed in the patent to ensure a safe landing — trickling down to help safe navigation past oncoming humans or animals.
The drone maker will also employ a host of different unmanned aircraft with different shapes and weight for its production line. A month ago, car maker Audi announced a trial with DHL and Amazon that would allow a drone to deliver to the boot of its car . With the feature, an in-car communication device tracks a customer vehicle for some time before using a digital access code to unlock the boot. As soon as the code expires, the boot is completely shut.
The UAV may utilize this information to plan the route from the source location to the delivery location and/or to modify the actual navigation of the route. In addition, in some implementations, the UAV may consider other environmental factors while navigating a route.
For example, if the UAV’s route must cross over a road built for automobiles, the navigation of the route may be adjusted to minimize the intersection between the UAV’s path and the road. For example, the UAV may alter its navigation such that the path of the UAV will intersect with the automobile road at an approximately perpendicular angle.”
Additionally, the patent describes a system of tracking that would pull data from a user’s smartphone to determine the best place for an item to be delivered. It also includes a mock-up order page (above), showing how a user would choose a delivery option for delivery by drone within 30 minutes:
“In some implementations, the location of the user may be maintained and updated until the item is delivered to the user […] For example, the user may place an order for an item while at home, select to have the item delivered to their current location (delivery within 30 minutes of the order) and then leave to go to their friend’s house, which is three blocks away from their home.
As the ordered item is retrieved from inventory, the current location of the user’s mobile device may be determined and the delivery location correspondingly updated. As such, the ordered item will be delivered to the user while the user is at their friend’s house, or any other location.”