Amazon has been awarded a patent for a pocket-sized, voice controlled drone that can be used to help police in chases, aid firefighters in tackling blazes, and even find lost children.
The drone will have a built-in software that will allow it to understand commands spoken by a user or controls from an app, according to a United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) filing.
Amazon did not mention Alexa – its artificial intelligence (AI) personal assistant – but as the e-commerce giant already has experience in this technology, it could potentially build it into its drones.
The drone will have a microphone and a camera that will allow it to carry out several functions outlined by the patent including:
- Finding a lost child whereby the drone’s camera will identify a person’s face or perhaps a barcode printed on the kid’s clothes
- Locating a vehicle when a person can’t find it a parking lot by recognizing trait such as the make, model or color
- In search and rescue missions to find downed airliners, sailors or ships lost at sea
- To identify people trapped in a burning building
- Following a suspect so that a cop car could cut off the runner
- Recording stunts or other activities, effectively replacing current helmet cameras
From the patent filing:
In other words, the UAV can act as eyes and/or ears, among other things, for the user to extend the user’s perception. The UAV may be used, for example, to record information from a perspective different than the user’s perspective, scout dangerous situations, or locate/retrieve items for the user, among other possible tasks. In some examples, the UAV can be small enough to carry on the user’s person (e.g., in a bag, in a pocket, on a jacket, etc.) and allow for ready deployment.