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Amazon’s new drone delivery plan includes package parachutes

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Amazon’s latest patent filing just dropped

Amazon parachute patent

When it comes to drones, Amazon seems to have no shortage of ideas. In December, The Verge reported that Amazon filed a patent for a flying airship warehouse designed to expedite drone deliveries.

Although it may not be as wild as an airship, CNN reports that the US Patent and Trademark office granted Amazon a patent for a new method to deliver packages via drone: parachutes.

The patent shows that drones will deploy packages “at altitude” and “monitor and adjust package trajectory during descent.” As CNN reports, Amazon’s drones could “radio a message to an off-course package, instructing it to deploy a parachute, compressed air canister or landing flap.”

The parachute patent is the latest development in Amazon’s ongoing experimentations with Prime Air, which has included drones landing in order to deliver packages. Currently, Amazon’s drones are fully autonomous and are equipped with sense and avoid technology to ensure safety.

Their full autonomy, however, remains an issue for the company’s drone delivery aspirations in the US. Drones still need direct human supervision in order to be legally operated, according to CNN, although US companies no longer need a pilot’s license to operate them. Amazon, however, launched a private trial in the UK in December, where one person monitored and operated multiple automated drones.

Amazon's first drone delivery just delivered its first package by drone.

Posted by The Verge on Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Amazon’s most recent competition came from a company not known as a tech innovator, 7-Eleven, which conducted a commercial drone delivery trial in December with drone-maker Flirtey. Google, meanwhile, has run into issues with its drone delivery programs, including the drones themselves.