Amazon has been awarded a patent to develop and produce miniature drones that can be controlled by voice commands. The technology can potentially aid police officers with their job.
The drones are imagined to be small enough to fit in a pocket. The concept gets rid of the remote control which is what current drones utilize. In its stead, an automatic, voice-driven control will be used. TechRadar believes Amazon will capitalize on its new AI to enable the drone to be controlled by voice.
The pocket-sized drone which will "act as an assistant to the user" is capable of understanding voice commands through built-in software. This is reminiscent of Alexa, an app that allows the user to operate the smart speaker Amazon Echo using his or her voice. The drone can also be operated using controls from the app if the voice-command option is not needed.
The mini-drone will be equipped with a camera and a microphone. Such features allow the device to do a number of tasks such as helping authorities trail suspects, locating missing persons especially children, aiding search and rescue missions at sea, and locating trapped people in burning or collapsed structures. The device can also be used in finding a car in a large parking lot and recording stunts.
The patent, which was awarded on October 18, is for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Assistant. In the patent's abstract, it was described that the UAV assistant or miniaturized UAV can "provide enhanced support for police during routine traffic stops", "locate objects or people", and "enhances perception for improved visibility and safety."
Amazon has already toyed with the idea of using drones for delivery purposes with their Prime Air drones. Their previous attempts to do so were met with mixed reviews but the company continues to file patents on different technologies related to drones including the use of lampposts and tall buildings as docking and recharging stations for the drones.