Amazon isn’t planning to take a breather. Instead, the e-commerce giant is looking to completely redefine the delivery mechanism with the use of drones. The company has already completed its first successful drone delivery in the U.K and is now stuck in practical, technical, and legal battles against regulators. But, this isn’t hindering Amazon’s pace of innovation and technological development.
The e-commerce giant has already shown off its eccentric idea of flying warehouses that will include inventory and autonomous drones for delivery of goods. But, CNN reports that the US Patent and Trademark office has granted Amazon a fresh patent for delivery of packages to the ground using a new method. This involves releasing the package from an autonomous drone using parachutes, which can be guided to a correct location.
The patent application suggests that Amazon is not looking to touch base i.e the delivery location when sending out packages using the help of drones. Instead, it is planning to keep them hovering over the customer’s house and use their new delivery method to make efficient and timely deliveries. The company will deploy the package
Amazon is of the opinion that the drone consumes more energy and time if it has to land and take-off to make deliveries. It is also required to land in an open yard-like area to avoid collisions (which the sensors should prevent) with nearby humans, dogs or other objects. Thus, it has been said in the patent that Amazon will deploy the package “at altitude” and “monitor and adjust package trajectory during descent”.
The company, in the patent, says that the drone will monitor the trajectory of released packages to ensure that they are reaching the desired landing position. And if it isn’t, like there is a power line or a tree in between, then Amazon plans to use parachutes, spring coils or bursts of compressed air to adjust the position of packages mid-flight. There is also the possibility of the inclusion of a landing flap that will soften the landing of the package when it makes contact with the ground.
This patent is the latest development in the company’s efforts to conquer the skies with their Prime Air drone delivery service. The company managed to complete its first commercial delivery in Cambridge (where it has been granted permission to conduct trials on the outskirts). It delivered the package, a Fire TV and a bag of popcorn, in a mere 13 minutes. But, the drone had to land to drop the black box containing the said products. Though the idea is currently only on paper, we could see parachutes being deployed for drone deliveries in coming months.
There is no doubting the fact that Amazon isn’t aggressively pushing to commercialise drone deliveries — beyond the U.K. It hopes to make this a reality and has already started advertising the same through Super Bowl adverts, which suggest that the said delivery mechanism could become a city-friendly solution very soon. Alexa order me a bag of Doritos from Prime Air! Giving this command would be so fabulous.