By now, you know that drone delivery is a thing that is likely coming to your neck of the woods as soon as Amazon and the FAA deem the technology ready, legal and safe for prime time. Until then, there’s a lot of testing, designing and patents to be filed.
Based on a patent that was awarded to the e-commerce monster this week, it appears Amazon is testing remote-maneuverable parachutes and other landing aids to deliver packages via drone to your front door. The diagrams show a house with a drone flying overhead that drops a package, and sticks around to make sure it makes its way to your house, adjusting the trajectory of the floating package as it arrives.
Why? Why not just fly the drone direct to your house, right? Well, for several reasons. First, one has to assume Amazon doesn’t want people messing with the drones or even stealing them, so they want to keep them out of reach. They also don’t want them colliding with people, animals, pets, trees and anything else littering your front yard. But even more plausible is the noise factor. If you’ve ever heard a drone in person, you know they sound like giant flies. Now, imagine hearing these things flying around all day long as you and other lazy Amazoners get their toilet paper and cat food delivered on a daily basis. Total nightmare cacophony.
It’s not just parachutes that Amazon is considering to make the landing more safe and quiet. They’re also looking at compressed air canisters that will deploy sort of like lunar lander jets. Landing flaps are also being considered.
Of course, all of this is currently not legal according to the FAA—automated drones flying without the direct supervision of a human is a big no-no. So there’s that.
Until then, UPS it is.