Amazon files a patent for the deployment of exclusive drones in India

By Vandita Jadeja | 2017-10-14

In an effort to use drones for handling some of its operations, the online marketplace Amazon Inc has filed a patent application in the country for the exclusive rights on multi space fiducials and black and white marks on any object for the self-operating vehicles in order to identify them from different distances. These proposed drones can also be used for the identification of other objects like aircrafts plying within Indian skies.

Based on the specification which was filed with the Indian Patent Office, the multi scale fiducials will have three or more than three scales where the child fiducials will be nested or linked by a relative position to the parent fiducials, this will facilitate target identification as well as tracking. Another application may be focused solely on the innovation which would enable target identification of similar ariel vehicles or drones. Fiducials are the optically recognizable features which are often used in computer vision applications. Some of the common fiducials include the grids of black and white blocks of a fixed size which could be randomly generated and could be used for localization, tracking and detecting the orientation of objects which are marked with these features including printed circuit board manufacturing, robotics, augmented realty and automated quality assurance and much more.

The company posted a video on its website showing the use of drone technology for the safe delivery of the packages to its customers. Amazon Prime Air is a delivery system which is designed to deliver packages to consumers within 30 minutes or earlier with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. The video showed how a Prime Air vehicle delivered a package at a specific landing which was marked with grids of black and white blocks that were fixed at customer premises. Earlier, the company had filed another patent application for seeking approval for a technology that would enable a quick response from the propellers of a drone, in case it detects an object like a human or animal on its way. This would help the aerial vehicle from hitting a human being or an animal while delivering the payload. The vehicle could also communicate with similar air borne objects in the area and share information related to the weather conditions and the obstacles. If a dog approaches and the vehicle is landing, and the dog enters the safety perimeter, a safety profile is automatically performed so that the animal is not harmed by the propeller of the air borne vehicle.

The company has filed for the patent application but this does not mean that it will get the approval for its commercial use. Nevertheless, this is an indication that the company could be interested in using such technology in India. Amazon Inc has also conducted trials in the UK to gather data in order to improve the safety and reliability of these systems. Currently, it is permitted to operate during the daylight hours when there is a good visibility. Operations are stalled during rainfall and tough weather conditions like snowfall. Once the company gathers more data on how to improve safety and reliability of such systems, it plans to expand the drone operations.

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