In the future, you will be able to call upon drones to recharge your electric car, and Amazon now has a patent for this technology.
There are already tanker aircraft that can dock with other planes and refuel them. This is particularly useful for military reconnaissance jets or fighter jets on a long defensive patrol.
While even airliners cannot afford such a system because they require significant quantities of fuel, the concept could have some practical applications for you and me.
You know, so that we don’t have to use creepy snake robots to recharge our EVs.
Amazon thinks drone-EV recharging is possible, and it’s been working on it for a while. This month, it was awarded a patent for such a technology.Amazon wants to use drones to 'top off' EVs on the move.Click To Tweet
What’s the Thing With Amazon and Drone Patents?
Amazon spends big bucks on research and development. With $17.4 billion USD over twelve months, it’s actually the top R&D spender, ahead of Volkswagen (second with $15.1b), and Alphabet ($14.5b).
A substantial chunk of that R&D seems to be devoted to drones as Amazon patent applications related to this technology are cluttering the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Check out our coverage of their “drone hive” patent here.
By now, it’s clear that Amazon’s plans for drones go well beyond precise delivery of items purchased at its e-commerce platform, although that’s undeniably the most obvious application.
Amazon imagines its future fleets of delivery drones as bees back and forth to and from the hive. To optimize all the ins and outs of its drones, Amazon has filed a patent for a tall building resembling a beehive.
Per a patent application from last July, Amazon has even entertained the idea of using drones to scan homes of customers to sell them more products and services based on the data collected.
Amazon wants also to use drones for parachute delivery of packages and has filed a patent for that.
Drones to Juice up EVs Mid-Journey
Amazon applied for another drone-related patent in 2014, this time targeting the electric vehicle market.
Amazon imagined the ingenious idea of using drones to top up EVs on the move three years ago, which has now been validated by a patent award this month (entitled ‘Systems, devices and methods delivering energy using an uncrewed autonomous vehicle’).
A server would automatically request a top-off and the system would dispatch a drone that would determine the specific EV anywhere and at any time.
The refueling drone attaches to the EV while on the move, via a docking mechanism or clamps, and juices up the battery to extend its autonomy until it reaches the next charging station for a full refill.
The idea is very practical but it remains an awarded patent which, like all patents, may never see the light of day. Moreover, aside from FAA regulations, the necessary regulatory framework for the marriage of these two technologies will likely take an age to be solidified.