The patent, which was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2014, focuses on the final leg of deliveries. Instead of having trucks that drive packages to their destinations, the trucks could give the packages to drones, cars, bike messengers or robotic couriers to make the deliveries.
This is not the first patent that Amazon has received for drone-related technology. The company was awarded a patent for a drone that will use recognition of human gestures and voice commands to deliver packages earlier this year.
The patent for “Human Interaction with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles” was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on July 18, 2016. According to Chain Store Age, the drone might include propulsion technology that manages the drone’s speed and trajectory. In addition, there will be a sensor and management system that can detect “visible gestures, audible gestures, and other gestures capable of recognition by the unmanned vehicle.”
And, in 2017, Amazon received a patent for a shipping label that can be embedded in a parachute so that packages can land softly when they are dropped by a drone or other aircraft.
According to a report looking at the patent, also issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the label may look and act like any regular shipping label, but underneath the label would be a system which could include a cover that breaks off and a harness to keep the package in place. In theory, the package could have embedded sensors that ensure it lands in the right place and absorbs the shock of landing.
The report noted that, based on the images in the patent filing, the parachute labels could be attached to every package that leaves Amazon and removed if a ground-based delivery method is being used rather than an airborne delivery system. The parachute package labels could also include QR codes, bar codes, the delivery address and coupons, among other things.