Details of how the delivery by drone service will work published by US Patent Office
More details have been revealed about Amazon’s Prime Air delivery programme using pilotless drones, revealing that the service is a lot more intelligent than previously thought.
The US Patent Office has today published the company’s application for the “aerial delivery of items”, which was originally filed in September 2014. The patent opens up a lot more information on the service, including the fact that Amazon’s drones will talk to each other to ensure a successful delivery.
This includes the reception of information on the delivery environment (presumably weather, traffic, obstacles, etc.) from other drones to update their routes in real time, determining if their flight paths and proposed landing areas are safe and free of obstacles (like people or dogs).
The application also includes a mockup of an Amazon order screen with four options for delivery: “Bring It to Me,” “Home,” “Work,” and “My Boat”, showing that the company wants this to be as flexible as possible.
Using location data pulled from a user’s smartphone, package delivery locations will be updated in real-time as customers move around, so your goods can come to you, depending on where you are when your shipment is ready
There’s also the option for the drones to drop packages at a “secure delivery location,” which could include an Amazon Locker. The system will also include the option for relay locations, where drones can drop off packages for further transport, or to recharge or swap batteries.
Amazon first announced it would be testing drones for its deliveries back in December 2013, when CEO Jeff Bezos said that the company hoped to launch a service by 2018. The unmanned Amazon ‘octocopters’ can carry up to five pounds (2.3 kg) of cargo from the company’s distribution centres to customer homes.
It was revealed last month that the company has been testing Prime Air in Canada’s British Columbia in a move that further underscores what the company has criticised as an overly restrictive approach by US authorities to the technology.
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