Amazon patent shows how delivery drones could dock on street lights

Another detail of Amazon’s plan to use drones to deliver packages has been revealed thanks to a patent filing that surfaced this week. 

The filing outlines plans to turn existing vertical structures in public spaces into makeshift docking stations for drones, a logistical innovation that could quickly move Amazon Prime Air from the realm of science fiction to a downright practical delivery system. 

Dated July 12, the patent, which was surfaced by Patent Yogi, describes a system that would allow Amazon’s drones to alight on radio towers, cell towers, street lights, electricity poles, office buildings, parking decks and even church steeples. 

In addition to serving as a landing platform for the drones, the way stations would also function as charging stations and navigational aids for the drone system. 

But the most interesting part of the patent document describes a possible drone-to-human delivery method (see image above) for some docking stations. The system would allow the drone to drop a package down into a trap door, after which the specially equipped docking station would transport the package downward via vacuum tube, dumbwaiter, elevator or conveyor for ground-level pick up. 

But before you start checking your local telephone poles for Amazon logos, it should be noted that (as with all patents) there is no guarantee that the docking stations will ever be built or used. 

Nevertheless, putting aside the logistical and municipal hurdles that may come up, if this is how Amazon plans to deploy Amazon Prime Air, the ambitious project suddenly looks a lot more attainable. 

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via Mashable http://ift.tt/29K9CN4

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