Business

Amazon seeks patent for drone technology

U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon has sought a patent in India for a technology dealing with propeller safety for automated aerial vehicles such as drones.

The move comes in the backdrop of the firm committing to increase its investments to $5 billion in India which is one of its fastest growing markets.

“The technology is important as it helps revolutionise the way deliveries are made by an e-commerce website, especially of small packages,” said Dominic Alvares of S. Majumdar and Co.

“The demonstration by Amazon of a Prime Air drone delivery in the U.S. earlier this year is only an indication of how useful this technology actually is for safe and efficient delivery,” he said.

The patent is titled ‘Propeller safety for automated aerial vehicles (AAV)’ and was filed in the earlier part of this year.

As the AAV is preparing to land at the customer specified location to deliver the payload, it may monitor for objects (e.g., pets, humans) approaching the AAV and quickly respond to prevent the object from becoming harmed, according to the patent application.

“For example, if a dog (object) approaches the AAV as the AAV is landing and the dog enters the safety perimeter of one of the propellers of the AAV, a safety profile is automatically performed so that the dog is not harmed by the propeller,” according to the patent filing.

Uncertainty

How far this technology can be applied in India is, however, uncertain at least in the short-term if not the long-term, Mr.Alvares added.

India is still looking into framing regulations for drones.

“The application is yet to be examined by the Indian patent office. It may take at least two years before the Indian patent office comes back with a report after examining the application,” said Kartik Puttaiah, InvnTree IP Services.

Amazon had filed similar patent applications in the U.S. and the Canada.

“The patent application in the U.S. has been examined. Amazon is finding it hard to secure a patent over this technology in U.S. The examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has rejected a patent for this technology,” Mr. Puttaiah pointed out.

“Amazon, in this case, has filed an appeal early last month against the decision of the USPTO’s examiner to reject a patent for its technology. The outcome of this appeal is expected to have a bearing on the outcome of Amazon's Indian patent application on this technology,” he said.

An Amazon spokeswoman said the firm had no comments on the issue.


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Printable version | Jul 5, 2022 9:58:13 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/business/amazon-seeks-patent-for-drone-technology/article18956553.ece