A new drone system patent awarded to Google may pit the Internet giant against major industry players in the race to rain packages from the skies, but analysts say it will take years before such airdrops can take place in America”s neighborhoods.
“There”s a lot of money there,” said Gartner analyst Gerald Van Hoy. “That”s why FedEx, UPS, the U.S. mail, DHL, they all have drone programs, they”re all invested in some kind of drone delivery system.”
Google”s patent, awarded Tuesday, describes a hovering drone that uses a tether to lower a box containing a package. A “bystander communication module” attached to the box would put out an “avoidance cue” such as a beeping sound or the words “delivery in progress, do not approach” while the package was beinglowered, and the system could be configured to show blinking red of yellow lights to warn people away as the package descended.