Amazon Thinking About Parachuting Packages From Drones
SEATTLE (dpa-AFX) - Amazon is exploring the possibility of using parachutes to drop drone-delivered packages.
The e-commerce giant has been granted a patent titled, "Maneuvering a package following in-flight release from an unmanned aerial vehicle".
According to Amazon, the technical advantage of incorporating a package delivery system into a drone is that the sequence of a drone landing and taking off for each package delivery can be eliminated, thereby creating time and energy resource efficiencies that improve the benefit of adopting a network system of drones.
"Further, an ability to cause a package to descend through a vertical trajectory rather than a parabolic trajectory can be advantageous when attempting a delivery in an area with limited open space, such as an alley or a fenced back yard," Amazon said in the patent filing.
The patent filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office provides details on how Amazon intends to deliver these packages.
According to the filing, a package delivery system can be implemented to "forcefully propel a package" from a drone while it is in motion. The drone can apply a force onto the package that alters its descent trajectory from a parabolic path to a vertical descent path.
The package delivery system can apply the force onto the package in different ways. These include pneumatic actuators, electromagnets, spring coils, and parachutes that can generate the force that establishes the vertical descent path of the package.
Once the package is released, the drone would hover nearby to ensure that the package lands in the intended area.
The patent describes how control surfaces can be used to alter the flight path of packages to avoid obstructions like trees, carports, balconies, power lines, and the like. The vertical descent path of the package can be altered to slip the package onto the balcony of a high-rise building.
In December, Amazon made its first commercial drone delivery in Cambridgeshire, England. Amazon's Chief Executive Jeff Bezos announced on Twitter about the first Amazon Prime Air drone-powered delivery.
Also in December, Amazon was granted a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a big flying warehouse equipped with drones that can deliver goods. According to the company, the "airborne fulfillment center" or AFC would float at an altitude of around 45,000 feet and will be stocked with lots of products.
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