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Amazon Wants to Land Drones on Trucks Because It’s 2020 Already

Back in our childhoods, most of us imagined 2020 as the year filled with flying cars, teleportation devices, and robots that would do everything for us.
Amazon drone for air shipping 1 photo
If it’s not obvious already, 2020 clearly had different plans for us, and while we’re still forced to stay indoors for our safety, Amazon is thinking of a way to make at least part of our high-tech childhood dream come true.

The online shopping behemoth has recently been granted a patent for what’s essentially a new system that would allow drones to land on and take off from delivery trucks. In other words, these are autonomous drones able to fly over our cities, pick up packages from delivery trucks, and bring them right to our porches.

Called “Communications and landings of unmanned aerial vehicles on transportation vehicles for transport,” the patent describes a complex piece of technology that would essentially make delivering packages with drones as safe as it gets.

And needless to say, trucks doubling as landing zones for these drones come with extra benefits, as they can also offer on-the-go charging.

The abstract section of the patent explains the unnamed drones would always stay in touch with the delivery truck through permanent communications, and the drivers themselves would have to approve or deny every action the flying device would perform.

Unmanned aerial vehicles ("UAVs") which fly to destinations (e.g., for delivering items) may land on transportation vehicles (e.g., delivery trucks, etc.) for temporary transport. An agreement with the owner of the transportation vehicles (e.g., a shipping carrier) may be made, and the associated transportation vehicles that are available for landings may be identified by markers on the roof or other identification techniques,” the patent reads.

Different types of communications may be provided as part of a landing process (e.g., a notification regarding a proposed landing may be sent including a request for a confirmation that the proposed landing is acceptable, etc.). The routes of the transportation vehicles may be known and utilized to determine locations where UAVs will land on and take off from the transportation vehicles.

The idea of using delivery trucks as landing zones for drones isn’t exactly new, as others have explored similar approaches before too, but Amazon seems more likely to widely adopt it given the company’s new commitment to delivering packages by air. Earlier this year, Amazon received federal approval to ship products using drones, though, for the time being, there’s still no ETA as to when the new service could go live for customers in the United States.


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