After Amazon’s successful commercial drone delivery early this month, the company now has been granted a new patent to safeguard its flying drones. The patent named, ‘Countermeasures for threats to an uncrewed autonomous vehicle’ (UAVs) was filed by the company in November, 2014 which was published just last week. It is a 33 page long patent and includes all possible counterattacks and their respective drone-securing measures.
Few of the possible situations include bad weather, crowded sky, a network jamming attack or being struck with a rock, gun or an arrow. These measures also include sensors attached to orient the drone based on the sun’s position in the sky in order to protect from lightning and flash. The patent also states a mesh network to check data sources and satellite signals for verifying reading the drones are following. If the readings don’t match from all the sources, the drone will go with the majority vote.
A fail-safe module has been designed if the drone gets attacked by a rock, gun or an arrow. As per the patent,
The fail-safe module terminates the navigation to the first computing device, and the fail-safe module directs the UAV towards the ground. In some implementations, the fail-safe module may be configured to direct the UAV to take evasive maneuvers, navigate to a safe landing or parking zone for inspect, and so forth.
Further, the drone would be able to send its location data as an alert in case it gets lost. The drone may also deploy a protective device such as an airbag, foam, parachute, bumper or shift into a mode such as configuring auto-rotation of one or more rotors depending upon the circumstances it faces. Further, Amazon has also developed electronic systems to detect signal jammers and other hacking attacks.
Though Amazon has not yet detailed which of these patented measures it would be using with its drones, the said patents will surely eliminate ill acts, inadvertent system failures and hence result in seamless prime deliveries.