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What does Amazon want to deliver with its latest UAV patent?

Answer: on-the-go recharging services for electric vehicles.

Amazon has been granted a patent — the latest of many — for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that recharges electric vehicles (EVs) while they are on the move.

With this tech, the driver of an EV would be able to use the service to request a top-off if they believe they would not make it to the nearest charging station. The drone would meet the vehicle at a predetermined location and, after scanning a target on top of the car to make sure it’s the right one, dock while the vehicle is in motion and administer a charge. The rechargeable battery powering the drone would then allow it to return to its base to refuel.

Called “Systems, devices and methods delivering energy using an uncrewed autonomous vehicle,” Amazon applied for the patent in June 2014. It is unclear whether Amazon intends to build this tech in the near future — at the moment the patent may only be a way to prevent competitors from developing a similar device.

It also remains unknown as to the purpose of the tree in the patent photo.

Kate is a senior copy editor in Northern California. She holds a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in professional writing from the University of California, Davis.