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,
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’.
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
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.