Drones are being used everywhere. From photography, reconnaissance, technical support, to delivery of products. But, most drones are limited in what they can be used for. There is no drone which can be seamlessly used for all purposes. An example is delivery drones, which are limited in the amount and type of payloads that they can carry. Amazon has come up with a unique solution.
A recently published patent from Amazon describes a distributed and reconfigurable drone configuration. The configuration will have multiple drones that fly in perfect synchronization to lift a payload. The controllers of the drones will all communicate with each other during flight to maintain the configuration. The number and orientation of drones can also be changed as required. More drones will be a part of a configuration if the payload is heavier. The drones can all be of different types.
The drones will be connected to the payload through tethers. The tethers themselves could be made up of different types of materials ranging from fibers to plastics and even metals depending on the type of payload.
The configuration could also change mid-flight while performing a task based on operational parameters. For example, the altitude of the drones can increase with respect to the payload to increase the pulling force if required.
Amazon has been actively innovating with automated drones, like allowing drones to obtain depth information, and reducing noise from drones. This invention looks like another step towards making automated deliveries. We can’t wait for a drone configuration to turn up with our delivery.
Publication Number: US20190118944A1
Patent Title: Distributed and reconfigurable aerial vehicle configuration
Publication date: 2019-04-25
Filing date: 2017-10-20
Inventors: Gur Kimchi, Louis Leroi Legrand, III, Ricky Dean Welsh
Assignee: Amazon Technologies Inc.