The US Patent and Trademark Office has recently awarded Amazon the patent to build drones that can self-destruct in mid-air in case of an impending crash to protect the people below.
Amazon’s self-dismantling delivery drone is fitted with a “fragmentation controller” – a system that can detect impending crash based on flight path, terrain and weather. For instance, the drone controller can detect when the temperature is too cold or too high which could affect the battery life, or when the wind is too strong to fly safely.
Once the controller detects an impending crash, the drone is then directed to a nearby large tree or pond for mid-air self-destruction. It’s unclear, however, what will happen to the package.
In December 2016, Amazon launched its first drone package delivery. The company claimed that its delivery drone can deliver packages of up to five pounds in 30 minutes or less.
The company is one of the six companies working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop an air-traffic management system that will allow unmanned drones into the airspace below 400 feet in the US by 2019.