Your eagerly-awaited parcel lands at your door and Amazon makes yet another consumer very happy. But what if the poor drone’s flight was ill-fated, and it suffered something of an in-air incident, leading to its plummet earthward, its merchandise falling into the hands of a luck recipient? More fatalistically, what if said drone fell onto some unsuspecting passer-by’s head? Well, it is this sort of scenario that Amazon have been keenly working on, and are now on the brink of equipping their fleet of UAVs with a self-destruct system, the patent for which, was filed earlier this week.
When courier-drones are fully operational and their use widespread by companies above and beyond just Amazon, so will this result in an increase in the probable risk of accident. While, like can be said for manned aircraft, the full gamut of safety measures and maintenance checks can be carried-out as standard on the ground, nothing will be able to be rectified once a UAV is airborne. Therefore, the ability to be able to force it down to earth, or indeed, break up in midair, is not something a commercial giant such as Amazon, faced with the wreckage of a multimillion-dollar claim, can afford to overlook.
The work will be as follows: Specialised software will monitor the integrity of both the design integrity of the device and its component parts. Having identified a problem, this software program will transmit a signal to the UAV’s on-board computer, and, depending on the nature of the problem, will make a decision as to the best course of mitigating action to next take. This could be to detach any broken or non-functioning element, or to call for the drone’s entire disintegration in mid-flight.
It is hoped that this advance will drastically reduce the risk of harm and damage to people and property alike.