Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) subsidiary Google has filed a patent for a component designed to secure packages to drones that could be used to deliver goods to customers.
The component, dubbed a “delivery receptacle” in the patent filing, is designed to ferry parcels from an “aerial delivery device” for storage in a safe zone. The receptacle is designed to utilize infrared beacons to communicate with drones whizzing overhead and then guide them to deliver the packages securely.
The delivery receptacle then tightly latches into the component and stores it in a secure location such as a store or a garage, the patent filing indicates. However, the filing didn’t divulge any further details such as the design of the delivery vessel.
Google has been researching on using drones to deliver packages since 2012. Its project leader, Dave Vos, announced last November plans to utilize the nimble advantages of drones to deliver parcels by 2017. The project, titled “Project Wing”, was officially launched in August 2014 with an accompanying YouTube video demonstrating a field test done in Australia. Field tests in the United States have been conducted at AMES Research Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Regulations on Drones Sufficient
As the Federal Aviation Administration prepares to release the final rules governing commercial drone flights to pave way for drone flights, companies such as Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Alphabet have committed resources into research involving configuring drones for commercial deliveries.
The FAA formed a task force to advise on the way forward on drones, which recommended that anyone with a drown weighing more than half a pound and less than 55 pounds to apply to be registered with it before launching their devices airborne. So far, 181,061 drones were registered by early January.
Early this month, Vos, a co-chair of the FAA task force, told the audience during the Consumer Electronics Show summit in Las Vegas that current regulations are enough to permit the use of drones by civilians.
“I would advocate strongly that the need for additional regulation is very, very small. That in fact, if you allow people to do things and replicate what manned aviation pilots in this airspace do it already works,” said Vos. “We don’t need new regulation, we need to just be allowed to go do it,” Vos said.
Security Concerns Still an Issue
Various countries have been hesitant to allow civilians to use drones due to security fears. Only recently, the US Secret Service found a drone on the White House lawns, while in Japan, one was found on the roof of Prime Minister’s office. Japan has introduced laws that bar flying drones in built-up areas without permission, with South Africa and Canada following suit with similar laws.
Singapore introduced laws that prohibited flying drones over military installations, crowds, moving vehicles and within 5 km (3.11 miles) of airfields. This essentially makes the tiny nation almost a no-drone zone.