Amazon has formally received a patent on the idea to make lampposts, church steeples, or any other tall, suitable surfaces into landing pads for its drone delivery system. The idea is not unlike filling the world with drone “birdhouses” to provide places for unmanned aerial delivery vehicles' batteries to recharge during the course of their hypothetical delivery work.
The patent, first uncovered by Patent Yogi, explains that such a system would serve a variety of purposes in keeping a drone delivery service operating around the clock. Whether they act as proper delivery destinations, hubs in a larger delivery network, or just straight-up battery-charging points, this is the essential infrastructure that will help bring Amazon’s highly anticipated and long-awaited drone delivery program to life.
But don’t get too excited just yet. Amazon’s drone delivery system is still technically illegal, as the thinking that goes into it is still years ahead of what current unmanned aerial vehicle regulation will allow in the United States. As of present day, commercial drone flights are so tightly restricted as to make an automatic airborne delivery fleet impossible to run with the government’s blessing. Amazon has been waging something of a PR war for the past several years in order to push the regulators forward and to normalize public thinking on seeing drone delivery as an inevitable convenience of the future. Winning the patent described here is just one more bit of momentum in that campaign.
So if it’s just a matter of time before the skies are filled with buzzing delivery drones that fill our Amazon orders, we ought to get used to the idea of looking up and seeing flying robots everywhere as though our reality were a deleted scene from Blade Runner.
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