Amazon made the announcement that it will be making deliveries via drones 4 years ago. Their dream has still not become a reality but it is not for a lack of trying. They need to engineer the drone to deliver the goods but more importantly, they need to convince the shoppers that it is safe.
There have been a number of patents in past few years and they have tried to improve their designs. The latest one describes a drone that can break apart in mid-air and spread the loads of metal and plastic at different spots. Even though the trials are underway, there is still time before the service becomes active due to the legal roadblocks, especially in the US.
Amazon and Federal Aviation Administration are both actively working towards the safe integration of drones into the US airspace. Amazon has a number of other patents which include using lamp posts as drone docking stations to keep them charged up. There are also patents to stuff safety parachutes into shipping labels and a flying warehouse that serves as a mothership for the drones.
The patent in question was filed last year and is now granted and this allows the drones to self-destruct in mid-air in case of an emergency. The drone will be fitted with a fragmentation controller in addition to the flight controller. This allows the drone to break apart in case of an emergency.
The fragmentation controller would be able to detect when something goes wrong and will come up with a fragmentation sequence, which governs the parts that are breaking off. The flight path will be tracked along with weather conditions and topography to make sure that the falling pieces don’t cause any harm.
Having a part of a drone fall on top of you would in no way be pleasant but it would beat the alternative of having a complete drone fall on top of you and cause serious injury. These patents show that Amazon is actively working to convert the dream of drone delivery into a reality.