Amazon has a lot of hoops to jump through before it can bring its drone delivery service to life in the United States. But new details have surfaced that shed some light on what the company is planning—and it’s not your average drone delivery service.
According to a patent recently published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Amazon’s drones will be able to locate users and deliver the packages wherever they are. With the delivery option “Bring It To Me,” Prime Air will be able to use a user’s GPS, wireless or cellular data from their mobile device in order to determine their location.
“With this option, the actual location of the user is determined and the UAV delivers the item to the current location of the user,” according to the patent. "The current location of the user may be based on, for example, a determined location of a portable device (e.g., mobile phone) associated with the user, the location of the network utilized by the user when placing the order, etc."
“For example, the user may place an order for an item while at home, select to have the item delivered to their current location (delivery within 30 minutes of the order), and then leave to go to their friend's house, which is three blocks away from their home,” according to the patent.
The patent also reveals that the drones will be able to:
- Monitor humans and animals in order to modify its path if necessary
- Talk to other drones to obtain environmental, weather and traffic information
- Determine whether or not it has a safe place to land.
“It looks like science fiction, but it's real. One day, seeing Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road,” the company wrote on its website.
Amazon Prime Air requires beyond-line-of-sight operations, which are currently banned from the Federal Aviation Agency. But the FAA recently unveiled a new initiative to study BLOS.