Drones to replace police dogs

Amazon has been working on drone technology since many years now. Amazon plans to use drones to deliver goods directly to customers from its warehouses. Earlier this year, we discovered Amazon’s patents on a drone with a combustion engine and a “birdhouse” for drones.

A recent patent from Amazon indicates that Amazon has found some new interesting uses of drones. In fact, Amazon has invented a small shoulder-mounted police drone.

These drones are designed to provide enhanced support to the police while on duty.  The drones can perch on shoulders of police officers, so it is easy to carry them around.


Dash cams installed on police vehicles often do not work as desired. Depending upon conditions, the position of the police car relative to action, and other factors, dash cams often do not always provide usable video or audio. To solve this problem, a police officer can command the patented drone to “hover” or “follow me.” The drone will then automatically take a position proximate to the officer to record video and audio of the traffic stop. For example, the drone can hover above the officer and face the same basic direction as the officer. This allows the drone to capture the vehicle license plate as the officer approaches the vehicle. If there is an altercation during the stop, for example, and the driver flees the scene, the license plate and a photo can be provided to local police agencies to quickly apprehend the suspect. 

In some examples, if a foot chase develops during a traffic stop, for example, the officer can command the drone to follow the suspect so that he can attempt to cut the suspect off in the cruiser. Similarly, if there are two or more suspects, the officer can command the drone to follow one of the suspects, while he gives chase to the other. This can enable the officer to apprehend one suspect, and then he or backup officers can apprehend the other suspect guided to his location by the drone. The drone provides periodic location updates, for example, or can simply hover above the suspect with its lights and sirens on to enable police to locate the suspect. These drones will effectively take the jobs of some police dogs.


Meanwhile, Amazon is working hard to develop drones for delivery products. Last month, during 2016 Pathfinder Awards ceremony, Jeff Bezos revealed details of how the Amazon’s drones will know where to land. He said, “If you have a landing field, you can mark it with a symbol that you can print out with your printer, and put it wherever you want the vehicle to land,” Bezos said. “It will come over, see it, and land. And if it sees anything that makes it nervous, it can divert or phone home for help.”

Patent Information
Publication number: US 9,471,059
Patent Title: Unmanned aerial vehicle assistant
Publication date: 18 Oct 2016
Filing date: 17 Feb 2015
Inventors: Steven James Wilkins;
Original Assignee: Amazon Technologies, Inc.