Amazon – delivery drone patents…

Online giant Amazon has just filed the latest in a long line of delivery drone patents with a safety system for the drones it is developing.

Toward the end of last year the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) formally approved an Amazon patent for countermeasures to protect delivery drones from hackers as well as thieves. In addition it has just emerged that in April 2016 the USPTO approved a patent for Amazon that is an “airborne fulfillment center utilizing unmanned aerial vehicles for item delivery”. Or, as the media would have it, giant flying warehouses and drone fleets.

The April patent was discovered by the CB Insights journalist Zoe Leavitt.

Under the concept of the airborne fulfilment centre the airborne unit will behave as a ‘popup’ fulfilment centre that can be quickly deployed in locations where Amazon can see a surge in demand for a certain line of items. One example where this might be the case was cited in the patent as a ‘football game’ where fans will want to buy ‘sporting paraphernalia’, though this could apply to other large scale gatherings such as band tee shirts at music festivals.

The news is a little late as Amazon has been quiet about it. The USPTO granted the patent on the 5th April 2015 but Amazon filed for it in December 2014, the same month that it filed for a patent for a docking station and relay concept that observers have referred to as a ‘Pony Express’ like system for delivery drones. The USPTO granted this last patent in July 2016. å 
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