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Amazon’s drone patent shows smartphone GPS tracking

by Jacob Kleinman | May 8, 2015May 8, 2015 9:40 am PDT

Amazon’s drone delivery service is still struggling to get off the ground, but the company has big plans for the future. A recent patent reveals the specifics of how the retail giant may ship your packages in the future.

The patent, which was filed back on September 30, 2014, describes an “unmanned aerial vehicle delivery system” very similar to Amazon Prime Air, which the company officially revealed a few months later. The filing details how Amazon could organize the new drone-based system internally, and offers a glimpse at the updated interface shoppers might use to finalize orders.

Inside Amazon, Prime Air could be totally automated. Each time someone places an order a drone would pick up the package autonomously and zip off to make the delivery. Each drone may also be able to track your location using the GPS in your smartphone and update its route mid-trip. They could also talk to each other to relay the weather, traffic and other flying conditions, according to the patent.

Meanwhile, shoppers will be able to pick exactly where each package gets delivered. An updated version of Amazon’s website shows a list of options including your home and office, your location at that exact moment, and even your boat.

Of course, we’re still a long way from Amazon Prime Air actually launching. The company has run up against U.S. regulation that has slowed its testing attempts. Still, it looks like once the laws and technology are in place, Amazon will be ready to fly.

USPTO

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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