Amazon has built a highly responsive and agile drone

Amazon has built a highly responsive and agile drone

A recent patent by Amazon™ discloses a drone with center mounted fuselage and closed wing. Aesthetically, the drone is shaped like a lotus. This configuration makes the drone much more agile and responsive.

With conventional drones, there have been a constant issue of security, stability, and speed. There is always a chance of a payload falling off the drone and hence this makes the drones less secure and reliable. Likewise, the exposed propellers associated with such drones may be hazardous to objects or people around the drone. Further, drones have also been less stable owing to the fact their instability while landing on different terrains. In addition to that, drones have been linked with limited speed and control. The drones are also known for being too noisy.


Since the fuselage is mounted at the center of the drone and within the motors, the drone control system, power supply, and the payload can be positioned within the fuselage. This conserves the space, reduces the drag, and improves the aerodynamics of the drone. Furthermore, by positioning the motors (including the stator and the rotor) around the fuselage, the sound coming out of the drones can be muffled so that the noise generated by the drone is considerably reduced. A dampening material (e.g., rubber, vinyl) will also be placed around the motors which further reduces the noise. Further, in order to improve the overall efficiency and the speed of the drone, the closed wing, fuselage, support arms (used for coupling closed wing to the fuselage), propellers and other components are built from one or more lightweight materials like carbon fiber, graphite, titanium, and machined aluminum. The fuselage, support arms, and the closed wing are hollow and hence contains a cavity so that they allow wires, cables and payloads to be comfortably positioned inside the cavity. In some implementations, the payload may be any item aerially carried by the drone and which is electronically ordered from any e-commerce web application to be delivered at any specific destination.


In some implementations of this design, there can be a combination of motors and propellers positioned around the fuselage. For example, there may be two sets each of the motors and the propellers. Here, one set of motors will be responsible for running a first set of propellers whereas the other set of motors will run the second set of propellers. Further, the two sets of propellers may be driven in opposite direction to counteract the torques creates and lift the drone in a particular direction.


As illustrated in the figure below, one of the front support arms that couples the closed wing to the fuselage is configured as a canard wing. The canard wing is a wing that is positioned toward a front of the drone having an aerodynamic shape. The aerodynamic shape of the canard wing will provide additonal lift and stability to the drone when the drone is moving in the direction that includes horizontal flight. Likewise, the canard wing will also provide structural support by securing a portion of the front of the closed wing to the fuselage. Additionally, the canard wing will also include ailerons that may be controlled by the drone control system to induce pitch, yaw and roll of the drone during the flight.


The landing arms employ principle of hydraulics for providing support to the drone when the drone comes to rest after landing. The landing arms extend down from the closed wing. Accordingly, in some implementations, the landing arms will include a surface engagement component and a compression engagement component that compresses as the weight of the drone comes to rest on the surface engagement component when landing. The compression engagement component (e.g., spring, piston) provides shock absorption to the drone.


When the drone lands at the destination, the drone is supported by landing arms. Simultaneously, a fuselage access door (inside which the payload is kept) opens and a payload engagement mechanism will disengage the retained payload so that the payload is released and successfully delivered.


The figure below depicts a side view of the drone with the center mounted fuselage and the closed wing. In this exemplary illustration, all the ailerons are configured as guidance propulsion mechanisms that includes a guidance motor and corresponding guidance propeller. The guidance propulsion mechanism will be controlled by the drone control system and will assist in providing the lift to the drone. Apart from providing the lift, the guidance propulsion mechanism also provide the drone with the ability to pitch, yaw and roll. For example, when the guidance propulsion mechanisms are positioned as illustrated in the figure, the motors may be deactivated and the drone is aerially navigated using the motors and propellers encompassed within the closed wing.


This patent by Amazon™ solves all these major issues associated with the drones. Here, we will be talking about a drone in which the fuselage of the drone is center mounted and atleast some of the motors are configured to encompass at least a portion of the fuselage.  In such a configuration, the stator and the rotor of the motor will extend around a perimeter of the fuselage. Further, the propellers will be coupled to an outer perimeter of the rotor and will extend radially outward from the fuselage. A closed wing may be coupled to the fuselage and positioned to encompass the radially extending propellers and at least a portion of the fuselage. The closed wing is responsible for providing the lift to the drone during the horizontal flight. Apart from providing the lift, the close wing structure also provided an added protection from an impact that can occur with the edge of the propellers by an object external to the drone.


What do you feel about this revolutionary drone design by Amazon™? Let us know your views.

Patent Information
Publication Number: US9815552B1
Patent Title: Unmanned aerial vehicle with center mounted fuselage and closed wing
Publication date: 2017-11-14
Filing date: 2015-09-21
Inventors: Ricky Dean Welsh
Original Assignee: Amazon Technologies Inc