Amazon granted patent for drone docking station system
Amazon has been granted a US patent for a docking station and relay concept which observers have dubbed a “Pony Express-like” system for delivery drones. The patent, which was filed in December 2014 and published on the US Patent and Trademark Office’s website on 12 July this year, describes a system whereby delivery drones do not go straight from the despatch centre to the customer’s home – but instead stop off at docking stations along the way.
At the docking stations, the drones can recharge their batteries and receive updated information on weather patterns which can be used to plan the onward journey. The parcels can also be passed onto to another drone at the docking stations.
Essentially, this means that journeys can be broken down into a series of stages – like the 19th century’s famous Pony Express – so the delivery range can be extended much further and parcels can be keep in motion, with no downtime, because they can be passed onto freshly-charged drones (the 21st equivalent of the pony).
The patent also mentions that the drone docking system can be integrated with ground-level locker storage system from which customers can collect their packages – creating the possibility of a fully automated Click & Collect concept.