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Amazon wants to turn street lights and other vertical structures into drone docking stations

By Shawn Knight
Jul 20, 2016
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  1. In the more than two-and-a-half years since Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled intentions to deploy aerial drones for the purpose of delivering packages to customers, we’ve seen a lot of advancements in and around the drone industry.

    That said, there’s still an enormous amount of work that needs to be done, both legally and logistically. Amazon is well aware of these challenges and has been taking the necessary steps to move forward with its plans according to a recently approved patent.

    In the patent, titled, “Multi-use UAV docking station systems and methods,” Amazon proposes using common vertical structures including streetlights, cell towers, church steeples, office buildings, parking decks, telephone / electrical poles and radio towers as docking stations for its aerial fleet.

    Said docking stations would be able to recharge drones while others could also feature an integrated package locker or serve as safe zones during inclement weather. Docking stations could even include solar panels, weather monitoring tools and security cameras, the latter of which could also be used by local authorities for both traffic monitoring and crime prevention. And with Wi-Fi, docking stations could serve as free Wi-Fi hotspots.

    The patent was filed on December 14, 2014, and approved a little over a week ago on July 12. PatentYogi discovered and wrote about it a few days later.

    As always, it’s important to point out that just because a patent is approved doesn’t mean we are guaranteed to see it come to fruition. Often times, companies file for patents as a proactive measure to stifle the competition.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Guru Posts: 198   +272

    So to further save money after making a large number of delivery drivers unemployed, we need to spend billions of public money replacing the entire street light infrastructure in order to subsidize private firms with future publicly funded electricity, and effectively transfer private logistics infrastructure / maintenance costs directly onto the public in return for nothing?

    "Well played" Amazon...
     
    wiyosaya and EClyde like this.
  3. rvnwlfdroid

    rvnwlfdroid TS Booster Posts: 135   +23


    Maybe I read a different article. I don't recall seeing anything in that article that mentioned who would be flipping the bill. Wouldn't it see more likely that they would be upgrading only a small portion of the street lights not an entire infrastructure?
     
    mbrowne5061 likes this.
  4. EClyde

    EClyde TS Guru Posts: 707   +181

    It's a comic book world
     
  5. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,043   +271

    As long as Amazon foots the bill...
     
  6. umbala

    umbala TS Addict Posts: 169   +145

    It's so funny seeing posts like this. People hear about some clever new advancements in technology and their first reaction is "How is this going to affect my crappy job??" So yeah, let's keep burning fossil fuels forever and stop any type of advancements that would adversely affect the jobs of people with little to no education. Oh wait....
     
  7. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Guru Posts: 198   +272

    Nice hyperbole...
     
  8. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,505   +2,054

    I agree with you regarding fossil fuels but having a "crappy job" is better than having no job or turning to crime. The folks that do this kind of job probably didn't get the lucky breaks a lot did but it's still honest work for honest pay. I personally would rather deliver parcels than sleep in a subway and rummage through trash cans.
     
    BSim500 likes this.
  9. 9Nails

    9Nails TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,212   +174

    You fired the drivers, but spent billions on street light infrastructure and drone landing pad manufacturing?. So you got rid of jobs to create jobs. A smart company should retrain the staff. (Hopefully Amazon is smart.) We'll see if that's practical to retrain drivers, but it shouldn't take a whole college degree to twist a few screws and plug-in some wires.

    My neighborhood keeps the local falcons and ravens on top of the street lights, along with other clever birds. Some neighborhoods like to keep their sneakers up there for God knows what ever reason. Some educated person will want to consider designing these with mischief in mind. I think a drone landing pad / recharge station is a good idea ultimately. Perhaps even have the landing pads available with recharged batteries and make the whole thing a quick trip and off the drone goes. Maintenance / installation crews can retrieve any failed batteries. At least I think it's better to not leave a $10,000 drone sitting on top of a $100 battery.
     

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