Amazon has filed patents for the ease of using drones in Indian skies

Amazon has filed a patent for the use of drones to handle some of its operations with the Indian Patent Office.

According to a report by Business Standard, Amazon Inc has filed a patent application in India for exclusive rights on multi-scale fiducials, black and white marks on any object for the unmanned self-operated aerial vehicle to identify from different distances.  The drones can also be used to identify other object such as aircrafts operating in the Indian skies.

Amazon Prime Air. Image: Amazon

Amazon Prime Air. Image: Amazon

Fiducials means optically recognisable features which are generally used on computer vision applications. A fiducial marker is object placed in the field of view of an imaging system and is used as a point of reference or a measure. Some of the common types of fiducials include grids of black and white blocks of fixed size, generated randomly. It can be used for applications such as localisation, tracking and detecting orientation of objects. Fiducials markers, as they are called, are most commonly used in printed circuit board manufacturing, augmented reality, automated quality assurance among other things.

Amazon's patent filing specifications with the Indian Patent Office has specifications which have multi-scale fiducials with three or more scales. The child fiducials are nested within parent fiducials to help with target identification and tracking.

What's the relevance of a fiducial marker as far as Amazon's drones are concerned, you may ask?

Well, we are all aware of Amazon Prime Air, Amazon's drone delivery service. Prime Air services employs drones to make deliveries in under 30 minutes, using unmmaned automated aerial vehicles. The delivery has to happen at specific locations, at specific landing points. These landing points are marked with black and white grids for the drone to identify where to land. These black and white grids, also known as fiducials, are present at the customer premises where the delivery has to be made.

Before this, Amazon had also filed a patent application seeking approval for a technology which would ensure that a quick response from the propellers of a drone are received, in case of human or animals are detected in the drone delivery path. This would enable the automated aerial vehicle from hitting the human or pet while delivering its payload. This technology would also let the aerial vehicle communicate with other aerial vehicles and share this information of probable obstacles.

Since this is just filing of the patent applications, it does not immediately meant that Amazon has got permission to operate drones for delivery in India. But it is a sureshot indicator that Amazon is considering deloying this technology in India as well. It is already conducting trials in the UK where it is permitted to operate the drones in daylight hours when the weather conditions aren't extreme and there is good visibility.

According to Amazon, "We are working with regulators and policymakers in various countries in order to make Prime Air a reality for our customers across the globe,"

Updated Date: Oct 09, 2017 08:14 AM