If the patent is approved, Amazon will be using a delivery drone to keep parcels intact as they are dropped from parachutes.
The drone will enable the parachute to continue monitoring the package as it lands in the appropriate destination. If wind causes it to move in another direction, it will use one of several methods to bring it back on course. These include, folding flaps to bursts of air.
The drone system is being marketed as “Prime Air,” at present it is conducting real life trials in Cambridgeshire England, this is where their drone testing facility is located and it has been in operation since summer 2015. The first successful delivery was on 14th December 2016, Jeff Bezos, chief executive for Amazon tweeted the result. There is no human pilot involved in the process; it is a fully autonomous flight.
The last time that Amazon mentioned the trials in public, the service was only going to be made available to customers with large gardens, who live close to their delivery stations, and have ordered items weighing less than 2.6kg. At present, there are only two customers participating in the trial but Amazon hopes to expand this number in the coming months.
There are several Government regulations in the UK that could hinder the progress of Amazon Prime Air. There will be a number of restrictions which will limit what they can test. The company will have permission to test drones that fly over line of sight in suburban and rural areas.
Amazon first mentioned its drone delivery service in 2013; at the time they suggested that they would be launching it in 2018. Commentators disagree with this timescale and have accused Amazon of being too optimistic because there is a lot of red tape that they still have to get through.