Amazon Patent Details Folding-wing Drone Design


Amazon continues to spread it corporate wings into the drone space, filing a patent for a new type of hybrid folding-wing design. The patent was filed in 2014 and published on Dec. 24. The application describes a drone design in which the aircraft “transitions in-flight between vertical flight configuration and horizontal flight configuration by changing an orientation of the UAV by approximately ninety degrees.”

According to the patent filed, it’s clear the design fits perfectly into Amazon’s strategy to expand drone delivery markets. Under a section detailing the design’s function, the application reads: “The UAV may be configured to transport a payload (i.e., cargo), from an origination location, such as a fulfillment center, to a destination, such as a delivery destination.”

Upon takeoff, an Amazon drone’s wings would fold to enhance vertical stability and, once aloft, the wing’s aspect would flip and work like a regular set of propellers as explained in the application:

“In this vertical flight configuration, the UAV may perform vertical flight or hover. During the vertical flight, the UAV may cause the wing to extend outward via the pivots such that the wing segments become positioned substantially parallel to one another and the wing resembles a conventional fixed wing. With the wing extended, the UAV assumes a horizontal flight configuration that provides upward lift generated from the wing.”

The patent is the latest in a string of Amazon filings to be made public over the last several months.