- 15 February 2017
- Transport / Logistics Services
As it drives its drone related interests forward, Amazon has been awarded another drone delivery related patent. This one will certainly require a change in US law in order to work.
On the 14th February the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted Amazon a patent delivery system for “a package delivery system [that] can be implemented to forcefully propel a package from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), while the UAV is in motion”.
In short, this would allow Amazon to drop a package out of a delivery drone using a parachute. This would speed up the delivery process and of course, there would be no need for a landing site for said drone.
Observers have pointed out that having packages dropping out of the sky, no matter how their rate of descent is reduced by “pneumatic actuators, electromagnets, spring coils, and parachutes”, there will also be safety and legal issues around this.
One of those legal issues is that due to terrorism the US government is a little queasy about anyone other than themselves dropping things from drones, and this is expressly illegal except for the US military on US soil. Given its slowness to change even rather mild drone laws even with fierce lobbying from Amazon, this is not likely to change in the near future.
The patent (number 9,567,081) was filed on 26 June 2015. As previously reported, it is the latest in a flurry of drone-related patents that Amazon has accrued recently.
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