Amazon’s plans to use self-driving AIRSHIPS to launch its delivery drones

alibhai/ December 29, 2016/ New Gadgets/ 0 comments

  • Described as ‘airborne fulfilment centres’, the airships will hover over cities
  • Smaller airships may be used to replenish the airships with inventory
  • It could flying above a football game loaded loaded with snacks for spectators
  • A fleet of Amazon’s drones could then be released to make deliveries

Amazon plans to use giant flying warehouses to help its drones make deliveries, a new patent reveals.

Described as ‘airborne fulfilment centres’ (AFC), these airships will hover over cities at 45,000ft before releasing drones to deliver goods. 

The patent follows news earlier this month that Amazon had made the first successful delivery by drone, after shipping a parcel to a customer in Cambridge. 

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Amazon plans to use giant flying warehouses to help its drones make deliveries, a new patent reveals


Described as ‘airborne fulfilment centres’ (AFC), these airships will hove over cities at 45,000ft before releasing drones to deliver goods

The latest patent was filed back in May of this year and recently uncovered by Zoe Leavitt of CB Insights.

The giant, possibly autonomous, airships could help speed up deliveries around the world. 

‘The AFC may be an airship that remains at a high altitude (e.g., 45,000 feet),’ the patent says.

‘UAVs with ordered items may be deployed from the AFC to deliver ordered items to user designated delivery locations. 


The giant, possibly autonomous, airships could help speed up deliveries around the world. The patent describes a range of applications for the flying warehouses. For instance, it could flying above a football game loaded with sporting equipment and snacks for spectators


The autonomous blimps would carry huge numbers of drones and packages ready for delivery

‘Shuttles (smaller airships) may be used to replenish the AFC with inventory, UAVs, supplies, fuel, etc. 

‘Likewise, the shuttles may be utilised to transport workers to and from the AFC.’

The patent goes on to describe a range of applications for the flying warehouses.

For instance, it could flying above a football game loaded with sporting equipment and snacks for spectators. 

A fleet of Amazon’s drones could then be released to make individual deliveries 


Based on this image from the patent filing, Amazon may want to develop a fully automated airborne delivery system

‘Perishable items or even prepared meals can be delivered in a timely fashion to a user,’ the patent says.

The latest patent follows another by Amazon discovered this week for defenses against attacks in the sky. 

It reveals an electronic system that detects signal jammers and a parachute-like device if it is hit by another object. 


Amazon is looking beyond the usually issues at other threats such as hacking or ‘a malicious person shooting an arrow’ to take down the drone. ‘A protective device such as an airbag, foam, parachute, bumper and so forth could be used in this scenario 

AMAZON’S DEFENSE AGAINST ARROWS 

 Amazon’s latest patent, called Countermeasure for Threats to an Uncrewed Autonomous Vehicle, was filed on November 17, 2014.

It illustrates techniques to defend its delivery drones in case it is struck by a rock, gun or even an arrow. 

The drone would deploy an airbag, foam, parachute, bumper and so forth’.

Or the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), could shift into a mode such as configuring autorotation of one or more rotors.

The foam would coat the UAV so it will have a softer landing. 

 

The patent, called ‘Countermeasure for Threats to an Uncrewed Autonomous Vehicle’, was filed on November 17, 2014 and was published last week.

If a drone is stuck with a rock, gun or even an arrow, the system will deploy ‘a protective device such as an airbag, foam, parachute, bumper and so forth’.

Or the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), could shift into a mode such as configuring autorotation of one or more rotors. 

Amazon gives an example of a person shooting the drone with a gun, which causes it to fall towards Earth.

‘The compromise module may detect the gunshot and loss altitude, and the fail-safe module may cause the parachute to deploy, which may reduce the severity of the impact between the UAV and another object, such as the ground’.

‘The countermeasures may reduce or eliminate ill-intentioned acts, inadvertent system failures, or mitigate the impact of such acts or failures,’ reads the patent


If a drone is stuck with a rock, gun or even an arrow, the device will employ ‘a protective device such as an airbag, foam, parachute, bumper and so forth’. ‘The foam may be designed to coat or cover at least a portion of one or more surfaces of the UAV


Amazon’s method to protect its delivery drones from faceless hackers uses electronic systems that will detect signal jammers or other types of hacking attackers. If it appears there is some vulnerability, the system will select a frequency that seems to be less of a risk

WILL DELIVERIES BE FASTER? 

Impatient shoppers will be pleased to hear that Amazon’s drones could significantly speed up the speed at which deliveries can be made.

The plan is for Amazon’s PrimeAir service to eventually deliver small packages weighing up to 5lbs (2.27kg) in 30 minutes or less.

Amazon got British approval for three new types of tests, including flying drones that are no longer within sight of their operators in rural and suburban areas.

The other two are having one person operate several highly automated drones and testing devices to make the drones able to identify and avoid obstacles.

During the test the drones will be only allowed to fly an altitude of 400ft (122m) and kept away from operating near airport flight paths. 







Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

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