Amazon was just awarded a patent for a drone that will use recognition of human gestures and voice commands to deliver packages.
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.”
For example, when the drone arrives at a customer’s home, the person could speak or gesture to the device to order it where to leave the package. By interacting with a database of stored gestures, the drone can match the customer’s action and adjust its propulsion, trajectory, and speed to complete its task based on the customer’s request.
Earlier this month, it was reported that drones are expected to start making limited deliveries in the U.S. within the next few months.
While some safety issues need to be worked out, some believe delivery and other drone applications might be ready to operate this summer. In fact, at least 10 FAA-approved pilot programs are scheduled to start by May, with Amazon pushing for safety approval of detailed drone designs, as well as specific operating rules. The company has revealed that it plans to pick up packages weighing a maximum of 5 pounds from distribution centers and deliver them to customers within a 20-mile radius.
And Gur Kimchi, vice president of Amazon’s package-delivery organization called Prime Air, said he was confident that the approvals would be secured by 2019.
The human interaction drone is just the latest patent for Amazon. In February, it was awarded two patents, both supporting a wristband that locates warehouse employees and tracks their hand movements in real-time. And last summer, Amazon filed a patent application for “ground-based mobile maintenance facilities for unmanned aerial vehicles.”