Amazon was granted a patent on Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which will allow the company to literally drop packages from flying drones using a parachute.
The company has been working on drone deliveries for quite some time now to find a quick and efficient way to deliver packages for customers who live near fulfillment centers.
Amazon's History Of Drone Deliveries
The online retail giant announced earlier that it has successfully completed a drone delivery late last year in a remote area in Cambridge, UK. However, the company is unable to roll out the said service to the public due to strict regulations. Also, this type of delivery system can be difficult to achieve in urban areas, where pets and thieves can intercept these kinds of packages.
Another factor hampering the drone delivery system is the accuracy and safety of the packages being dropped. Amazon plans to make use of fully autonomous drones that will deploy the packages from a certain altitude in order to ensure that they land on the ground safely and accurately.
How Amazon Plans To Deliver Packages Using Drones
Normally, a package that is being lowered from a moving vehicle up in the air won't drop straight down; it will curve, making it difficult to deliver a package accurately. Amazon's patent involves a way to fire the packages backwards in order to cancel out the drone's movement.
According to the patent, Amazon also plans to use various technologies such as parachutes, compressed air canister, or landing flaps to successfully deliver its packages. Before it releases a package, the drone will assess the landing site from up above in order to determine the most effective course. If a sudden wind kicked up that could affect the package's descent and veer it off its course, the drone could send a signal on the guidance system mounted on the package to steer it precisely towards its destination.
Amazon Faces An Unlikely Rival In Drone Delivery System
A non-tech company, 7-Eleven, has surpassed Amazon's achievements when it comes to drone delivery. Last November, the convenience store chain announced that it has successfully delivered food items and over-the-counter medicines to a total of 77 customers in Reno, NV.
The drone was able to deliver the goods in less than 10 minutes. This service is currently used solely in Reno for now, but the company hopes to expand to other cities this year.