Amazon’s plan to turn packages into gliders

Amazon drone delivery
An Amazon delivery drone prepares to descend toward its target during a test run in England. One of Amazon’s patents covers a system that would eject packages from as high as 500 feet. (Amazon via YouTube)

Amazon has come up with some wild and crazy patents, but a patent issued today has to rank among the wildest: It calls for turning the packages ejected by its delivery drones into radio-controlled gliders.

The patent application was filed back in 2015, months before the Seattle-based retailing giant unveiled its initial design for delivery drones. There’s no indication that the concept has been incorporated into Amazon’s prototype systems. But don’t be surprised if someday you see your package of potato chips winging its way into your back yard.

The maneuvering system, developed by a team of inventors including Brian Beckman and a trio of Israelis, calls for ejecting the packages from drones while they’re in flight. A spring-loaded shooter, a drogue parachute or a set of actuators could do the trick.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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