Amazon's delivery drone will have the capability of recognizing human gestures and responding accordingly. Even though the patent was filed back in July 2016, it has just come to light now.
The patent shows a man wildly flailing his arms to get the attention of the drone that is approaching his home.
Responding To Gestures
Amazon is trying to give people their deliveries in 30 minutes or less by using drones. These drones will be able to recognize what kind of gestures people are making toward them. Whether it's a thumbs up or shouting, it will be able to change its behavior to respond to the person making the gesture.
Depending on the gesture it is receiving, the drone will respond in the following ways: it could release the package it is carrying, change its flight path, ask the human a question, or even abort the delivery.
In the patent, Amazon provides a drawing of a man that is moving his arms in an unwelcoming manner, and a speech bubble to indicate that he is saying something to the drone. It says that the drone is able to use people's voice commands to be able to take better paths to the delivery location.
Another diagram in the patent shows the process that the drone goes through in order to interpret the human's gesture and respond to it. It would first receive the gesture, then access a database of gestures, determine what the gesture means, and then proceed according to the gesture and the delivery instructions.
It would also come equipped with sensors including a depth sensor and cameras to detect visible, infrared, and ultraviolet light. This would allow it to recognize hand and body gestures, and human voices and movement.
To be able to deliver their items, the packages will contain extra packaging. Also, the drone will be able to land with the package. To able to deliver these packages from the air, Amazon patented a floating warehouse.
Airborne Fulfillment Center
In 2016, Amazon was awarded the patent for a flying warehouse where it would launch its drone fleet to deliver packages. In the plans, the warehouse is called an airborne fulfillment center and it would be an airship or blimp that would cruise around at an altitude of 45,000 feet.
The filing for the patent indicates that the airship would remain in the air at all times. It would be refueled and replenished using a shuttle. To operate, Amazon would likely require regulatory approval from federal authorities controlling the skies.