Amazon’s designs on drones stretch far beyond delivering your online shopping, it was revealed on Tuesday.
The firm has won a patent for a voice-controlled, pocket-sized drone that could be used for anything from finding lost children to assisting police in a foot chase.
The so-called unmanned aerial assistant would ‘act as a user’s eyes and ears’ to extend the operator’s perception, according to the patent awarded this week.
Related: See Amazon's top secret drone lab
Amazon is also on working off-board processing support that would make the drones smaller, lighter and cheaper than the current crop.
The filing (via Geekwire) reads: “The UAV may be used, for example, to record information from a perspective different than the user’s perspective, scout dangerous situations, or locate/retrieve items for the user, among other possible tasks. In some examples, the UAV can be small enough to carry on the user’s person (e.g., in a bag, in a pocket, on a jacket, etc.) and allow for ready deployment.”
All in all, it sounds as if the police force who would benefit most from such an invention.
The patent details how the drone could perch upon the offer’s radio and act as a mobile dash cam.
It could be commanded to “follow” suspects or to “hover” at a traffic stop, the patent explains, allowing law enforcement to have eyes on multiple situations at any given time.
When the droid is send out of range of voice commands it could be controlled by a smartphone app, according to the filing.
Of the possible consumer applications, Amazon says the drones could be flown to the front of the line to see how many people are waiting to buy concert tickets.
Face recognition or RFID tech could also be used to track a lost child, Amazon says.
The USPTO filing explains: “The UAV can receive a “find Timmy” command, which can include the “search” routine, and possibly an “identify Timmy” subroutine to locate a person identified as “Timmy” In some examples, Timmy can have, for example, an RFID tag sewn into his clothes or a bar code printed on his clothes, for example, to facilitate identification.”
While all these plans sound great in theory, Amazon still lacks the legal authority to execute them as yet, given the strict laws over where and how drones are flown.
Would you like a personal assistant drone to help you find your car in a crowded lot? Share your thoughts below.
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