Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are expected to radically change the package delivery industry, with the likes of Amazon® pushing through multiple innovations in the space, such as noiseless drones and beehive shaped drone airports. It won’t be long before UAVs are mainstream and we see them zipping around making deliveries. But, they may run out of batteries while doing so. It may be potentially dangerous if a UAV runs out of juice mid-flight while making a delivery.
A recent patent from Ford solves this problem. Ford plans to couple UAVs to package delivery vehicles. The delivery vehicles will be fitted with a charging and docking station configured to charge UAVs. The docking station may be placed on the roof of the vehicle.
The drivers of the delivery vehicles will be able to direct the UAV to deliver a package from the delivery vehicles. A UAV will recognize packages loaded on a delivery vehicle, and recognize the location of the delivery vehicle being near the delivery location. The UAV will then retrieve the package from the storage and deliver the package. This feature will reduce delivery times as they may not have to make door-to door deliveries, and may proceed onwards on their routes with the UAVs catching up with the delivery vehicle. Further, multiple UAVs may be used on a single delivery vehicle.
Publication Number: US20190039731A1
Patent Title: Taxi of unmanned aerial vehicles during package delivery
Publication date: 2019-02-07
Filing date: 2016-02-09
Inventors: Jason C. Marcath, Daniel Paul Roberts, Leslie James Lindeman
Assignee: Ford Global Technologies LLC