Most inventors look for ways to make their machines more robust, but Amazon has won a patent for delivery drones that fall apart more easily.
Why? For safety reasons.
The patent application, filed last year and published last week, lays out a concept that calls for an automated “fragmentation controller” to be included on the drone.
That controller, analogous to a flight controller, works out and updates a backup plan for breaking the drone apart if the flight is disrupted for some reason.
As the drone goes about its business, onboard systems and the drone fleet’s mission control center would be on the watch for potentially hazardous conditions, such as inclement weather or equipment malfunctions.
If the drone gets into a jam, the fragmentation controller could be activated to go through an optimized self-destruct sequence. Pieces of hardware would drop off or be ejected based on the terrain that’s surrounding the unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, when it gets into trouble.