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Amazon Patents Drone Technology With Self-Destruct Systems

Amazon Drone.Mike Licht/Flickr

It’s no secret that Amazon has been trying to change the retail industry with its drone-delivery offers. However, a recent patent suggests that the company might be thinking about installing a self-destruct system in its drones. It’s not to inflict any kind of harm on anyone, either. Rather, it’s meant to be a safeguard against crashing drones.

According to the patent, the idea behind the technology is to essentially rig the drones so that they fall apart in mid-air in case they malfunction and are at risk of causing harm. By breaking apart, the drone is turned into several smaller, lighter pieces that will hopefully do less damage than an intact UAV.

“During the flight operation, the fragmentation controller develops a fragmentation sequence for one or more of the components based on the flight path, the flight conditions, and terrain topology information, among other factors. The fragmentation controller can also detect a disruption in the flight operation of the UAV and, in response, direct fragmentation of one or more of the components apart from the UAV,” the patent reads.

One of the first publications to spot the patent was The Verge, which notes that this is a preferable alternative to having to deal with a whole drone falling from the sky. This also serves to address one of the biggest concerns that the public has when it comes to the prevalence of deliveries using drones. There is always that question of what would happen if a drone carrying a heavy package were to malfunction.

It’s worth pointing out that there’s no guarantee that Amazon would actually implement this new patent. The filing was basically just a means for the retail giant to have the rights to such a technology. There have been a lot of patent filings in the tech industry that eventually came to nothing.

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