Amazon delivery drones are still not making any drops, but the company is already moving onto the next step; coming up with ways that the drones might be used. The latest is providing ‘surveillance as a service’. Amazon has recently procured a patent that details how its drones might be used for keeping an eye on customers’ property during deliveries while making sure that the privacy of others is maintained.
The patent was originally filed back in June 2015 but has only become public earlier last month. It explains how Amazon’s drones could be hired for looking out for open garage doors, broken windows, graffiti, or even fire before it alerts the owners of the said property. Drones have been employed for surveillance before as well but by the military mostly.
However, companies are now starting to explore ways for which drones can be used for home security. Nonetheless, it is still rare and somewhat weird to hear that surveillance will be carried out by delivery drones that still haven’t been able to take flight. Alphabet’s Wing has only recently been able to get FAA approval for making deliveries in the US whereas Amazon’s latest drone that was unveiled last month still has to get the FAA approval. Yet, Amazon is hopeful of launching its commercial service ‘in a matter of months’.
The patent provides some insight into how the surveillance service of Amazon would work. It states that the customer would be able to pay for visits on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis. The drones might incorporate night vision cameras and microphones for expanding their sensing capabilities. However, this is exactly where the privacy concern kicks in for those who have not allowed Amazon to carry out surveillance of their homes.
Amazon’s patent has particularly addressed this issue by stating certain ways to make sure that no such incident occurs. The patent details how geo-fencing technology would be employed for making sure that Amazon’s drones do not capture any footage of the houses that they are not supposed to capture. Images might be edited during capture or might be processed post-capture. The images might also be limited by ‘physically constraining a sensor of the UAV’.
What do you think of this patent? Do let us know!