Van with no man: Amazon registers patent for autonomous delivery fleet
Retail behemoth Amazon has registered a new patent in the US which could revolutionise how they make deliveries - and that could be good news for Cambridge.
Under the new patent delivery drones would be released from what the company describes as a "Primary vehicle' to take the packages to their final destination.
But what is different is that all the navigation systems for the drones would be housed not in the delivery robot, but in the primary vehicle which dropped them off.
The patent states:
"...a primary vehicle that is outfitted or configured with digital cameras or other sensors, as well as control systems, navigation systems, transceivers and processors, may generate instructions for a secondary vehicle, such as a personal delivery device, that is not similarly equipped to perform a task or function involving travel between two locations or positions based on data captured by the sensors of the primary vehicle."
The patent goes on to describe how the delivery robot would be guided wirelessly. The firm has made huge investments in autonomous delivery systems.
Last year it announced that its Cambridge Development Centre would be recruiting dozens of engineers to develop autonomous deliveries in the UK, after online shopping took off during lockdown.
The company said it was establishing a new team in Cambridge to focus on Amazon Scout, it's small self-driven delivery vehicle.
The Scout rolls along the pavement at walking pace, delivering to a customer's door.
A similar service run by Starship Enterprises has been operating successfully in Milton Keynes.
The centre is also the main development hub for its delivery air drone service, and the patent could involve some of its technology. It includes an option to use a flying drone to help direct the delivery robots.