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Amazon proposes ‘virtual safety shroud’

Chase Jarvis with drone
Photographer Chase Jarvis with a drone at Gas Works Park in Seattle.

What happens if a child or a dog wanders into range while a drone is dipping down to make a delivery? Amazon has an answer: a “virtual safety shroud” that the drone creates, potentially based on readings picked up by its propellers.

The detect-and-avoid system is described in a patent application published today. Among the inventors is Gur Kimchi, the vice president and co-founder of Amazon Prime Air’s drone delivery operation, so you know it’s serious.

Amazon traditionally doesn’t comment on its patent applications, but here’s how the safety shroud would work, based on the description in the application, which was filed in February.

Get the description and 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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