Amazon acquired a new patent that would allow its delivery drones to talk to customers, ask for help and prevent accidents.
Amazon has found yet another way to take its delivery service up a notch — with a drone that will allow consumers receiving their products to have a small conversation with the aerial-delivery vehicle when it makes a delivery.
According to the Silicon Beat, Amazon acquired a patent on Aug. 29 for its delivery drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that will allow the UAVs to “conduct a speech dialog with a nearby person to request information and/or answer questions.”
Customers will be able to request that the UAV postpone delivery, and the drone can instruct people to “please stay away” or even “ask a person to identify themselves prior to releasing the product at the delivery destination.”
Amazon declined to comment on the possibility of drone failure being a potential safety hazard in the future, but addressed some potential issues in the patent.
“The UAV may have become disabled by losing power, by colliding with something, by becoming tangled in or by something,” according to the document.
A grounded drone that fell “may be in a potentially hazardous state, such as ... where one or more propellers are powered and turning,” the document states. At this point, the drone may speak and warn anyone nearby to steer clear of it. The drone could even cry for help if in a non-hazardous state.
Though there is no certainty in Amazon sending drones to deliver our online purchases, the document does highlight that accidents may happen, and they’re planning for such.
Amazon prepared online promotional material for its “Amazon Prime Air” drone-delivery program and coddled consumers' worries by stating that safety is the company's “top priority,” and that its UAVs will be equipped with systems to avoid and prevent collisions.
“Our vehicles will be built with multiple redundancies, as well as sophisticated ‘sense-and-avoid’ technology,” the company said.