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Amazon’s delivery drones will be able to stalk you


Amazon Prime Air drone

Amazon's delivery drones will be able to follow you around by tracking your smartphone location, a patent for the service has revealed.

The Prime Air shipping service has been a long time coming, but we've still only got a rough idea of how the company plans to implement it.

Fortunately, the US Patent and Trademark Office has published new details about the drone system.

Amazon applied for the drone patent back in September last year, but the Patent Office has only now approved it.

According to the patent, Amazon’s drones will be able to track the location of an individual using smartphone GPS data.

This would allow the drones to update their routes in real-time, effectively following you to an appropriate delivery point.

“The user may place an order for an item while at home, select to have the item delivered to their current location (delivery within 30 minutes of the order) and then leave to go to their friend’s house, which is three blocks away from their home,” reads the patent.

The drone maps out the most sensible route, and upon reaching the destination, will ‘safely approach the ground, or another surface’.

Related: 5 Amazon announcements that took us by surprise

Once the landing spot is deemed to have been safe, the drone stores the location information in Amazon’s databases as a reference for future drop-offs.

It’s also important to note that Amazon suggests the actual landings won’t be completely autonomous, revealing that drop-offs may be completed with the ‘assistance of a remote entity controller’.

Autonomous landings, however, would make use of built-in systems like flight sensors, sonar, cameras, and infrared sensors.

The patent also details how Amazon’s drones will communicate with each other.

The unmanned aerial vehicles will share a host of metrics, including air traffic, weather, and even human or animal presence, to improve the prospects for delivery.

Amazon is currently testing its drone systems in Canada and, more recently, in the USA, although drones are capped at a maximum flight altitude of 400-feet and must stay within the pilot’s line of sight.


May 8, 2015, 3:31 pm

I think this is very scary and not secure especially given the lack of security we have with our mobile phones in today's world.

I for one do not want a company being able to know where I am through my smart phone or any other means.

This is all becoming retail tech madness and it is going to have severe dire consequenses.

Yan Huang

May 8, 2015, 4:01 pm

If you have a smartphone, from the first time you turn it on companies already know where you are and store that data forever.

If you feel strongly against it you can just as easily disable location capabilities in the Amazon app or on the entire phone.


May 8, 2015, 5:40 pm

Not really companies only know what we tell them, with this they will be knowing where I am 24/7 is a completely different set of parameters.

Yan Huang

May 8, 2015, 5:55 pm

I'm afraid you're wrong on both counts.

Any app you install on your phone can track your location 24/7 and most smartphones track you by default from the day you first turn on your phone.

On the other hand nowhere does it say it Amazon will track you 24/7 and they have no reason to track you for more than the 30 minutes or so a drone is in the air.

If you know how to switch off the tracking built-in to your OS you can switch off Amazon's tracking. This is no more able to track you 24/7 without your consent than anything else you already have on your phone.

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