Over the past few years, drones have become increasingly popular among hobbyists who use them for a number of purposes, whether it’s racing around on a sunny afternoon or capturing awesome aerial photos and videos. However, some of the world’s largest companies, including Amazon and Google, see a lot of potential in drones beyond their entertainment value. Their vision is to create drones that would be capable of delivering goods to customers directly in their back yard, but putting this plan into practice is not as easy as it may sound, for a number of reasons. One of them is safety, and Google seems to be working on addressing this issue. The search engine giant recently filed a patent for a drone landing system which aims at keeping humans at a safe distance whenever a drone is performing landing maneuver.
One of the problems surrounding the concept of drone delivery is the fact that, after all, a powerful drone has to land on a person’s private property in order to make the delivery. Evidently, this can lead to a lot of safety concerns because a powerful delivery drone can theoretically cause injury in a drone-to-human collision. To avoid such scenarios, Google seems to have devised and patented a new system which would have delivery drones equipped with flashing lights and vocal warnings such as “caution: stay back”. Red warning lights would inform humans to stay back, yellow lights would let humans know the landing process is almost done, and a green light indicates that the package is ready to be picked up. Once the drone ensures that all the obstacles are cleared, it will utilize a range of sensors to lower and safely drop the package on the ground before flying away to headquarters.
In other words, Google’s latest patent for drone delivery safety seems to rely almost entirely on human behavior. The system appears to be designed to warn humans, but of course, whether or not humans will listen to the drone’s instructions is another matter altogether. But at least Google might be able to clear certain regulations with more ease thanks to this patent, perhaps allowing the company to put the drone delivery plan into practice in the next one-to-three years. The patent could also cover the company from a legal standpoint in the case of lawsuits and such.