Amazon's plans to use aerial drones to deliver packages are advancing. This is not the first time Amazon has made news with drones, and it comes on the heels of announcing their own delivery service. The patent has been issued this week and it says that the drone can adjust its behavior depending on a person's gestures.
Amazon has expressed desire to develop a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles that can send packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.
The unique concept which adds another Ace in Amazon's list pertains to the drone responding to human gestures.
If the drones are cleared to deliver, they can release boxes with extra padding from the air, or they can land and then offer the parcels, the patent said.
As amusing as the illustrations in the patent may be, it's also an indicator of a possible future where there may be a need to interact in public with robots. As the company has worked to make package delivery by air a reality, it's also been busy filing for patents on the process.
'The fragmentation sequence includes a release timing and a release location to fragment away (e.g., release, drop, jettison, eject, etc. away) one or more UAV components in case the flight operation of the UAV is disrupted, ' it reads.
The drones would recognize these gestures through a combination of sensors, computer vision and an onboard database of expected gesture commands. This isn't exactly completely new; Amazon had filed a similar patent in 2014, and this appears to be a new take on the same idea. Amazon's British trials for select private drone deliveries is reportedly still in progress.
Amazon is not the only company planning a device which would use human gestures to control. DJI's spark drone responds to arm movements, while Samsung recently received a patent for a drone that can track human faces and hands. FAA regulations forbid the use of commercial drones that aren't controlled by line-of-sight operators, and some cities like NYC have strict laws governing where drones are allowed to fly.