Oklahoma Patent of the Month – November 2020

Online orders have increased since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and with them, the demand for postal services to deliver items on time. Currently the delivery process requires drivers to physically operate the vehicle and bring the parcels to the right destination. But what if these deliveries could be made using unmanned vehicles?

Inspired by the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)- like drones- in the military, some companies (see Amazon) have become very interested in unmanned delivery as an option. However, these companies have not released how they intend to make sure these drone deliveries are accurate and the package arrives safely.

The folks at Flir Detection, Inc. looked at the limitations of UAVs in urban areas and started developing a method to make these possible. Their system would tell these UAVs the drop off location and how to get there with QR codes. The drones would be able to carry the package safely, bring it to the exact delivery address and drop off the package. Once the drone arrived at the right place, it could either send a notification to the recipient or lower the package to the ground and leave it there. The drones would even be outfitted with a camera to check if the package can be safely deposited or if something might be blocking it’s path.

This could remove the limitations we see companies like UPS and FedEx face such as being understaffed or confined to regular work hours. Getting deliveries via drone would certainly feel futuristic!

Are you adapting technology for a new purpose? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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