The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has awarded Google a patent for aerial drone delivery concept which includes a system for lowering items to the ground on a tether and also a “bystander communication module”. Google filed an application for the patent in July 2014 and USPTO granted the patent and published it on its website on Tuesday (26 April).
There are already a number of delivery drones which have actually run tests using tethers to raise and lower payloads – so it is the “bystander communication module” which makes the patent interesting.
It would generate an “avoidance cue” to warn bystanders that it is lowering an item to the ground; and it could “also be further configured to generate the retrieval cue”.
Presumably, Google has introduced the communication module to address the safety concerns that some may feel about drones making deliveries in populated areas.
As previously reported, the USPTO has granted Google a number of other drone-related patents and also recently awarded a patent for a self-driving parcel delivery vehicle.