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Amazon wants Prime Air drones to use parachutes

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Amazon’s Prime Air delivery service may not have rolled out to all customers just yet, but the company is already thinking outside the box to take it to the next level.

The ecommerce behemoth has filed for a patent, first spotted here, that will allow it to parachute parcels into homes, saving yet more time as the craft would not have to land at the destination.

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Amazon’s filing explains the system could "forcefully propel a package from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), while the UAV is in motion." The company imagines the force could be applied in a number of different ways such as using pneumatic actuators, electromagnets, spring coils, or parachutes.

Prime Air Patent

Indeed, the reason Amazon is doing this is to avoid creating "time and energy resource inefficiencies, which negate at least a portion of the benefit of adopting a network system of UAVs.” There are even plans to control the package once it has left the UAV.

"The package can be equipped with one or more control surfaces. Instructions can be transmitted from the UAV via an RF module that cause the one or more controls surfaces to alter the vertical descent path of the package to avoid obstructions or to regain a stable orientation," Amazon adds.

It’s likely that we will see this in the UK before anywhere else as Amazon’s secret drone delivery research lab is located in Cambridge. The city was the destination for the first ever Prime Air delivery back in December as part of a “private trial” that was open to just two customers, and there are plans to expand it in the future.

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Are you looking forward to drone delivery or is a white van more your bag? Let us know in the comments.

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