Jan 28th, 2016

Although Google has long told us of their plans to launch a drone delivery service, we haven’t known how, exactly, it would work. A new patent gives us an idea of some of the thing they’ve been thinking about, though.

google drone patent

The patent details a system where a ground receptacle that can be remotely transported can help guide an airborne drone to a specific location. Think of it like a safe on wheels. The drone eventually lands a package inside the receptacle, and the intended recipient could come to pick it up or the package can be picked up by a local delivery service to go the rest of the distance.

It sounds like it could be complicated, but it’s an interesting take on the concept. Using secure receptacles could help ensure packages are not accidentally dropped off at the wrong locations as well as makes it more likely that the person the package intended for is the only person who can get to it.

Of course, a patent alone does not make a product, and it’s possible Google could just be throwing as many ideas as they can to the wall. They have until 2017 to figure it out, after all, as that’s the timeframe they’ve given for a launch expectation. You can be sure Amazon — who is working on a similar concept — will be watching rather closely. In the meantime, check out the video above to see their original prototypes and tests for drone delivery.

[via Fast Company]

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