Amazon Patents Way To Turn Lampposts, Church Steeples Into Drone Perches

For the past few years, Amazon has been working on plans that would unleash a fleet of drones to handle some deliveries – from unveiling a prototype that acts more like a “horse than a car” and a patent for propellers that tell bystanders to “look out.” Now, another recently released patent shows what those little flying machines might be doing while they aren’t ferrying your Prime deliveries: sitting on a lamppost. 

Amazon was recently awarded a patent for docking and recharging stations that would be built on tall, existing structures like lampposts, cell towers, or church steeples.

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Once the drone is done making a delivery, it would be able to land on the station, recharge and refuel, as well as pick up additional packages.

Each docking station would be linked to a “central control system” that could connect the docked drone with a local or regional package handling center or central facility. The system would retrieve weather and package data, for example, to enable the system to route the drones in an efficient manner.

For example, the patent says the system will not only provide directions based to the drone, but will have the ability to redirect the unmanned aerial vehicle based on the most favorable conditions, such as a route with less wind.

In some cases, the patent suggests that the docking stations could also serve as an area where the drone transfer packages.

The patent describes a system in which the drone delivers a package to the platform that then moves the item via a “vacuum tube, dumbwaiter, elevator, or conveyor to the ground level.” At this point, the package could be transferred to a locker storage system or a local delivery person.

Amazon also suggests that the docking stations could act as cell towers that “provide local free or fee-based Wi-Fi services. This can enable cities to provide free Wi-Fi in public parks, buildings, and other public areas without bearing the burden of installing some, or all, of the necessary infrastructure.”

[via CNBC]

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