Amazon may have a new option for how it plans to deliver your packages by drone with parachutes. The potential plans are outlined in a new US Patent and Trademark office patent spotted by CNN.
The patent describes a way to reliably eject a payload from a drone in midflight. Usually, such a drop would see the package descend along a parabolic arc, caused by the forward motion of the aircraft—but that might not jive too well with the neighbors. Instead, Amazon's idea is to apply a force as the package leaves the drone to have it descend vertically.
From the patent, which was made public Tuesday: "The package delivery system can apply the force onto the package in a number of different ways. For example, pneumatic actuators, electromagnets, spring coils, and parachutes can generate the force that establishes the vertical descent path of the package."
The most obvious way to achieve this is to have the drone land, release the package from its underbelly, and take off again. But this method carries a lot of risk. A pet or human could be injured by the drone, the drone could topple over and become stuck, or it could be stolen. It's much safer to keep the bow-and-arrow-proof drone flying at all times, so Amazon is investigating other ways to, quite literally, drop the package off at its destination.
The drone would stay nearby to make sure it arrives in the right spot.
Amazon's parachute is not the most out-of-the-box concept the company has considered for its delivery ambitions. In late December, a separate patent was uncovered detailing Amazon's desire to create a flying warehouse hosting drones and packages.
An ad at the most recent Super Bowl promised Amazon drone deliveries “soon”, but the company has a lot of work to do before the machines are granted permission to patrol our skies.
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