APP airbag could protect drone-dropped deliveries

APP airbag
A diagram from Amazon’s patent application shows a delivery drone dropping a package protected by an airbag. (Amazon Illustration via USPTO)

Seven years after Jeff Bezos had the idea of putting an airbag on your smartphone, Amazon’s inventors have kicked it up a notch by patenting a drone-mounted system that inflates an airbag around your package just before it’s dropped off for delivery.

The inventors behind the new patent, published today, may not be as well-known as Amazon’s billionaire CEO, but they’re notable: One is Gur Kimchi, the Amazon VP in charge of the drone delivery program at Prime Air. The other is Avi Bar-zeev, who’s been involved in projects ranging from Microsoft HoloLens to Google Earth. He left Amazon after the patent application was filed in 2015 and is now at Apple.

The system they describe features an airlift package protection airbag, or APP airbag, that would be wrapped around a package that’s due to go out on a drone for delivery.

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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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