All Equipment in One Van – New Way to Look at Drone...

All Equipment in One Van – New Way to Look at Drone Delivery

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A new way to look at drone delivery. Amazon wants to develop a technology that would pair drones or small ground robots with delivery vans to make both more efficient. Rather than load out each drone with its own sensors and pathfinding hardware, that can be outsourced to equipment back in the van. 

According to the new patent, the technology includes a “primary vehicle” (read a van, truck, car, etc) that would be loaded up with items to be delivered, as well as secondary vehicles – either flying drones, small ground vehicles, or both. The idea is that the van would drive to the destination, park in the street, then send the smaller vehicle to drop the parcel at the doorstep.

In the van, cameras, radar, sonar, LiDAR, or other location sensors can analyze the best path for the drone to take, then beam the instructions to it wirelessly over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or the like.

The drone (or unmanned ground vehicle) could be equipped with some kind of marking, like a QR code or a logo, that the van’s camera can track as the drone moves around. If need be, it can then recalculate new paths or speeds to help the drone get around obstacles. After the drop-off has been made, the van can then instruct the drone on how to get back.

Entire fleets of these robots could service a neighborhood under the watchful eye of a single van. As autonomous delivery equipment, such as sensors, navigation devices, and processors, can be very pricey, the van can house it and direct all the autonomous vehicles using the same equipment, reports.