Google X has program known as “Project Wing” that aims to produce drones that can deliver products sold via e-commerce. However, there are some concerns regarding the exact mechanism.
A new patent from Google discloses a system where a drone hovers near the destination and lowers the package via a tether towards the ground. However, during a delivery operation using the patented system, it is desirable to keep the drone assembly and tether free from interference with obstacles, and particularly with any bystanders. Without some intuitive cue, any people nearby, particularly those unfamiliar with drone-based delivery systems, may be tempted to reach out and grab either the assembly, the tether, or the package itself while the assembly is being lowered to the ground. Such an incident may jeopardize a successful delivery of the package and retrieval of the assembly, and also may create a potential safety hazard.
To help mitigate such risks, the patented assembly is equipped with a bystander communication module that is used to convey information to a person on the ground as the package is lowered from the drone and thereby facilitate safe, efficient bystander interaction with the drone delivery system. The bystander communication module generates visible and audible perceptible cues that communicate information to nearby persons in an intuitive manner. Once the package has been released and the assembly begins being retracted toward the drone, the bystander communication module generates another perceptible cue that encourages a nearby person to retrieve the payload from the ground.
Publication number: US 9321517
Patent Title: Methods and systems for altitude control of balloons to improve wind data
Publication date: 28 Apr 2016
Filing date: 28 Aug 2014
Inventors: Richard Wayne DeVaul;
Applicant: Google Inc.