Amazon plans to 'parachute' parcels from drones

Amazon plans to 'parachute' parcels from drones

Amazon is working out ways to parachute packages from its delivery drones to people’s homes.

The e-commerce giant today (14th February) filed a patent in the US for a delivery system, which can be “implemented to forcefully propel a package from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), while the UAV is in motion”.

The plans follow the launch of its limited trial drone deliveries in Cambridge in the UK in December, which sees drones deliver parcels in less than 30 minutes.

First reported by Business Insider, the patent filed today said that along with being able to “propel” packages, the device must also “monitor the package during its vertical descent”. Force will be applied to propel the package in a number of different ways, the patent said, including pneumatic actuators, electromagnets, spring coils, and parachutes.  

The system will save time and energy, Amazon said.

In the private drone trial in Cambridge, Prime customers using the service can choose from thousands of items held in a warehouse. After the centre receives the order, an electrically-powered drone will fly at heights of up to 400ft and carry packages up to 5lbs is then guided by GPS through the air.

Amazon announced it had delivered its first package via drone through a video on YouTube. The delivery took 13 minutes after it was purchased for the customers to receive it, founder Jeff Bezos said.

Amazon will use the data compiled from people using the trial to expand the service to more customers over time.