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Amazon patents mothership for home-delivery drones

Sky spies

David Ryder/Getty Images

Amazon has patented another yet tool for operating home-delivery drones: “Airborne monitoring stations,” or gigantic, hovering airships (yes, that’s the word they use) floating at a high altitude that monitor and communicate with the drones.

The airships wouldn’t just send information to the drones; Amazon’s patent includes the capability to send information to devices inside households, too—“such as personal computers, electronic book reading devices, audio players, mobile telephones, tablets, desktops, laptops, etc.,” says the patent. “For example, the mesh network may be used to deliver electronic book content to electronic book reading devices of users.”

They’d be equipped with cameras, antennas, lasers, and weather-monitoring equipment. The cameras could be used to track and manage the drones, either by recognizable images, light beacons, or some other recognition tool, and watch for weather changes. Images could be sent back to a central server.

A diagram of the system looks not-unlike a 1980s arcade game.

Via U.S. Patent Office

This patent is one of many Amazon has acquired around their drone home-delivery system. Late last month, they also received a patent on a system that would allow their delivery drones to capture video of a recipient’s home and make home product recommendations (with a user’s permission) or identify emergency situations, as Puget Sound Business Journal reports:

The drone could also be equipped with microphones and audio sensors to identify gun shots, cries for help or breaking glass to alert emergency services. That could position yet another Amazon device at the crossroads of personal privacy and criminal law enforcement.

Amazon has also patented gigantic beehives to house their little worker drones.