TECHNOLOGY

Are Alexa-based delivery drones on the way?

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon doesn’t just want customers to use drones to receive package deliveries, the company wants shoppers to interact with them, too.

The online giant was awarded a patent this week for a drone that can be configured to deliver packages based on its recognition of human gestures and voice commands. The patent was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on July 18, 2016.

According to the filing, the unmanned device could be equipped with propulsion technology that manages the drone’s speed and trajectory, a sensor, and management system. The management system can be programmed to detect human gestures — both visual and audial — via the sensor, a move that will instruct the drone where to go.

For example, the unmanned device could be on its way to a customer’s home. Upon arrival, the customer can speak or gesture to the drone where they would like their package delivered. The drone’s sensors can interact with a database of stored gestures. Upon matching the customer’s action, the device can adjust its propulsion, trajectory, and speed to modify its delivery location, the filing explained.

The document didn’t reveal any plans for Amazon to leverage the technology.

This is the newest drone-based patent that Amazon has pursued to improve its fulfillment and delivery efforts. In February, the online giant was granted two patents, both supporting a wristband that can pinpoint the location of warehouse employees and track their hand movements in real-time. The solutions are based on haptic technology, which relates to manipulating objects using the sense of touch.

Last summer, Amazon filed a patent application for “ground-based mobile maintenance facilities for unmanned aerial vehicles.” Simply put, these hubs would be dedicated to accommodating, loading, launching, receiving and maintaining the delivery drones.

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

Polls

Do you expect your business to be challenged by the ongoing escalation of the the heightened U.S.-China trade dispute?