Amazon worked really hard to get approval from the Federal Aviation Authority to test delivery drones. After initially being denied, they were given special permission to run tests as long as the pilot remained in sight of the drone. Now, Amazon is telling us their proposed drone delivery plans by filing with the U.S. Patent Office.
Amazon’s patent says that delivery drones will be able to tap into smartphone data to locate the person they are trying to deliver a package to. Drones will also be able to update routes in real time and choose from a variety of delivery options, such as a home address, business address, or even a boat. These all seem like pretty lofty goals.
Other information in the patent states that the drones will eventually be unmanned, but able to talk to each other to warn of inclement traffic and weather patterns. This all sounds a bit too futuristic, and Amazon is going to face many regulatory hurdles before their plans can actually become reality. However, the patent is in place as an approved idea that other companies will not be able to copy without permission.
The patent was filed in September 2014. However, just because the patent was filed does not mean that Amazon will necessarily create a final product that is exactly as described. Through tests, research, and development, Amazon will figure out what their delivery drones are truly capable of now and in the future.
The Federal Aviation Authority does not have plans to approve the widespread use of commercial drones. They simply granted Amazon testing rights to keep their business in the U.S. The U.K. is building a drone research center and many criticize the U.S. for getting behind the times. Delivery drones are at least five to ten years off because of all the hoops Amazon is going to have to jump through and public support they are going to have to raise. However, if Amazon is successful, delivery drones could be a pretty awesome future.