Amazon wants to turn US street lights and church steeples into refuelling stations for its drones
It's been over two years since Amazon first revealed its plan to use drones to deliver packages.
Although the drone delivery service is still years away from materialising, due to various regulatory issues, Amazon certainly hasn't given up on the idea.
And according to a new patent filing, first discovered by PatentYogi, Amazon may be thinking about using virtually any vertical structure, like street lights, cellphone towers, and even church steeples, as a refueling and docking station for its delivery drones.
"The docking stations may incorporate a number of features to enable UAVs to fly longer routes, to fly routes more accurately, and to provide shelter during adverse conditions," the filing said.
Since these are patent filings, there's no guarantee that they'll turn into actual products. But it gives a glimpse into the future Amazon sees with its drone delivery program.
Here are some of the docking station use-cases described in the filing:
•Can extend the range of UAVs by providing recharging/refueling stations for the UAVs
•The docking stations can include package handling facilities and can act as a final destination or as a delivery hub
•Can also include navigational aid to guide the UABs to the docking stations and to provide routing information from the central control
•Can be incorporated into existing structures such as cell towers, light and power poles, and buildings
Here are some of the drawings provided in the filing:
Here's what the docking station would look like on a conventional street light. Amazon thinks there could be a variety in the drones' sizes.
The docking stations would be connected with each other under a central control system.
Here's what the recharging station would look like.
This is the refueling station.
This is a design of a "hold-down system" that would securely park the drone in the docking station.
It could turn into a shelter when the weather's bad. At the bottom of the pole, there's a package locker.
A picture of how the drone would drop off the package into the locker.
Docking station on top of a cellular tower.
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