Meanwhile, in the world of Amazon, the Drones and Delivery Department just got another boast when Amazon filed a patent for parachute deliveries on Feb. 14, 2017. Part of its ‘Flying Warehouse’ vision, Amazon is very intent on facilitating drones to deliver goods.
The Patent states as following, “A package delivery system can be implemented to forcefully propel a package from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), while the UAV is in motion. The UAV can apply a force onto the package that alters its descent trajectory from a parabolic path to a vertical descent path. The package delivery system can apply the force onto the package in a number of different ways. “
It goes on to give an example further on how this action would be completed:
‘For example, pneumatic actuators, electromagnets, spring coils, and parachutes can generate the force that establishes the vertical descent path of the package. Further, the package delivery system can also monitor the package during its vertical descent. The package can be equipped with one or more control surfaces. Instructions can be transmitted from the UAV via an RF module that cause the one or more controls surfaces to alter the vertical descent path of the package to avoid obstructions or to regain a stable orientation.
So is this part of Amazon’s overall plan for a flying airship warehouse to use drones and parachutes for its deliveries?
Amazon’s Prime Air is the start of its dedication which uses a delivery system to get five-pound packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. What is unfortunate for those perspective drone pilots is that the system will be automated so pilots would not be involved.
Certainly parachute drops are not a new idea. One such agency, the Joint Precision Airdrop System already uses GPS, steerable parachutes and an onboard computer system to steer the package to its right source. Prime Air is another story, though.
However, having a warehouse in the sky has its futuristic overtones. Adding to it a commitment on getting the packages in such a quick time of 30 minutes can be quite feat. The current trial was given in December 2016 in the UK. The drones would also be customized to help assist in this process.
Interestingly enough Amazon had competition in the drone delivery department from an unlikely source, 7-11. That trial was more cumbersome with the drone delivering a package dangled by a string at the bottom. One can see how a parachute can be a common sense solution at this point.