Did I miss something or was it a slow day at the Patent Office? The Register attempts to explain a patent that Amazon just filed for a so-called talking drone. Look, I’m neither a scientist nor am I an engineer but this is one of those inventions that just seems to be screaming for someone like George Foreman to hawk on television.
Silliness aside, let’s talk about the legitimate reasons for a patent of this nature, and what it means for drone delivery systems that Amazon is well known for looking to pioneer.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no wait…
One of the controversy’s of AAV’s is their use in populated areas. There’s a privacy issue, there’s a concern that low-flying UAV issue that potentially cause problems with everything from power lines to birds to antennas. So a drone that has the capacity to advise someone it’s going to land is head scratcher for sure.
Says the patent description, “Upon approaching the location, the AAV determines that a person is situated at or near an intended or a suitable landing area corresponding to the delivery location… thereby causing the propeller to produce a series of sounds that are audibly perceptible as “Watch out!”
Tests are only a year old
It’s only been about a year since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began granting permission for delivery drone test flights. The FAA said that Amazon in particular would be free to test its delivery drones in the United States, as long as Amazon flies the drones under 400 feet and at a maximum speed of 100 miles per hour.
Here we are a year later, and Amazon’s Prime Air service doesn’t seem any closer to being realized. One of the roadblock’s is the FAA’s recently proposed rules regarding commercial drone operations, including the requirement that drones stay within the operator’s line- of-sight at all times.
The idea of a drone delivering – I don’t know – beer for example (a proposal that was shot down, btw) certainly has novel aspects. But will it fly? (Pardon the pun. Couldn’t resist). That said, I’m not immune to the possibilities of drone delivery.
It’s already being successfully used in Germany.
LiveScience reports that, “German logistics company DHL recently launched a new drone delivery service to get ‘urgently needed goods,’ such as life-saving medicines, to certain remote locations.” The catch phrase here is “remote locations” and it seems to be working pretty efficiently without the need to tell people to “Watch Out!”
Do we need sneaky drones? Sure, why not?
Which gets me back to this latest patent attempt: A silent drone that no one hears and then gives you a shout out upon approach (i.e. “Watch Out”) goes against the better logic of what the drone service is supposed to provide in the first place.
But what do I know? The Wright brothers were laughed at also. Jokes aside, drone technology is not to be ignored – the rules and innovations for the devices are advancing extremely rapidly and have widespread implications. Stay tuned, and “Watch out!”