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The concept is part of Amazon's goal to develop a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles that can get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less. Issued last week, the patent may help Amazon grapple with how flying robots might interact with human bystanders and customers waiting on their doorsteps.
Depending on a person's gestures — a welcoming thumbs up, shouting or frantic arm waving — the drone can adjust its behavior, according to the patent. The machine could release the package it's carrying, alter its flight path to avoid crashing, ask humans a question or abort the delivery, the patent says.
Among several illustrations in the design, a person is shown outside his home, flapping his arms in what Amazon describes as an “unwelcoming manner,” to show an example of someone shooing away a drone flying overhead. A voice bubble comes out of the man's mouth, depicting possible voice commands to the incoming machine. (Amazon.com chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
“The human recipient and/or the other humans can communicate with the vehicle using human gestures to aid the vehicle along its path to the delivery location,” the patent states.
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