Emergent Tech

Amazon granted patent to put parachutes inside shipping labels

There's no way this could go horribly, violently wrong... right?

By Shaun Nichols in San Francisco


Amazon has been given a patent on a system to deliver packages from the sky via on-board parachutes.

The Bezos Bunch has filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office and been granted a patent for a system that will cram parachutes into shipping labels.

The on-board parachute functions as you would think: an adhesive label on the package will open up a parachute when dropped from an aircraft – presumably a delivery drone.

"The system can comprise a label that includes a parachute to enable the packages to be dropped from the aerial vehicle, yet land at the package's destination without damage. The system can include a self-adhesive backing, a plurality of parachute cords, a parachute, and a breakaway cover. The parachute cords can include a shock absorber to reduce the shock on the package of the parachute opening," Amazon writes in its patent description.

"The parachute and/or the breakaway cover can include graphics to provide address, velocity, or spin information for the package. The parachute cords can include a harness to separate the cords and reduce tangling of the cords and spinning of the parachute canopy with respect to the package."

Embedded parachutes would be a logical extension to Amazon's research into drones as delivery vehicles. In such a scenario, the drone would release a package that, via its delivery label, would deploy its own parachute to make a soft landing at the intended address. It would also solve some of the issues surrounding drones flying at low altitudes near power lines and other potential hazards.

The patent doesn't say what safety measures would be employed to make sure a wayward package doesn't fail to deploy its 'chute and brain an unwitting pedestrian or resident.

It is at this point worth noting that a patent is a long way from a finished product, and in many cases the devices described in patents never make it to the prototype stage in any form, let alone a finished product.

Still, the filing should give some indication as to just how far Amazon is looking to go with its drone delivery program. The retail giant does indeed seem to be at least entertaining the idea of deliveries being instantly processed and dropped from the sky with little, if any, human interaction needed. ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily


More from The Register

Why aren't startups working? They're not great at creating jobs... or disrupting big biz

We've been living a lie!

Tech giants at war: Google pulls plug on YouTube in Amazon kit

You won't sell our stuff? We won't let you watch our vids

Europe plans special tax for Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon

French minister says around two per cent of turnover sounds about right

Automated Weather Source didn't see this cloud coming: Amazon snatches up AWS.com

Uh, we'll be having that domain

Amazon Alexa outage: Voice-activated devices are down in UK and beyond

That sound ... yes, that lack of sound ... it's here

EU watchdog sniffing around Amazon's merchant data collection

Not yet an investigation, Margrethe Vestager says

The march of Amazon Business has resellers quaking in their booties

Canalys Channels Forum 2018 'To team up with Amazon is like to team up with the devil'

Now here's an idea: Break up Amazon to get more shareholder cash

Analyst wants a bigger slice of Bezos' $1tn pie

Amazon, Azure, Google will eat all the IT. Google, let us be your cake fork, pleads Nutanix

Analysis 3 IT giants - just 1 on-prem/hybrid stack partner opening...

Amazon Prime Music turns the volume down a little too much

Users face hours without tunes as streaming service trips up mid-dance move