Amazon has patented a way for its delivery drones to drop off packages without ever having to land.
The new patent describes an accordion-like tube that would extend from the drone to a drop-off point such as a porch and let the package slide through to a safe landing.
Additionally, the technology could make it easier to deliver packages when conditions aren’t optimal for landing and also cut down on noise pollution.
‘When the aerial vehicle (drone) arrives at a delivery area, the shroud is extended from the underneath side of the aerial vehicle as the aerial vehicle descends,’ the patent – which was filed on Tuesday – says.
It goes on to describe how the shroud would act as a ‘channel in which a payload, such as an ordered item, may be passed to facilitate delivery of the item.’
The shroud – which a single drone may have up to four of – would have ridges on the inside to slow down the release of the package.
Once the item was successfully delivered, the drone would retract the shrouds and fly away.
The technology would also enable the drones to more easily navigate winds and avoid contact with obstacles as well as customers.
An additional benefit would be their ability to muffle noise created by the drone.
‘If the aerial vehicle is operating during high winds and/or in an area that includes many obstacles (e.g., trees) it may be beneficial to only extend the delivery shrouds that are closest to a portion of the delivery area where sound transmission is to be reduced,’ the filing states.
For example, the drone could extend the two shrouds closest to the customer’s porch to deliver the package as well as the the two on the other side to dampen the noise.
This is just one of Amazon’s recent drone-related patent filings.
In June, the company secured a patent for hive-like structure where its drones would live while not making deliveries.
The patent states: ‘A multi-level (ML) fulfillment center is designed to accommodate landing and takeoff of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), possibly in an urban setting, such as in a densely populated area.’
‘Unlike traditional fulfillment centers, the ML fulfillment centers may include many levels (i.e., stories, floors, etc.) as permitted under zoning regulations for respective areas.’