back to article Google patents robotic 'mobile delivery receptacle'

Google has been granted a patent for a "mobile delivery receptacle" - a vehicle designed to accept airborne drone deliveries and take them to a "secure location, such as into a garage" at the recipient's address. The patent blurb explains: "Unmanned, aerial delivery services may be problematic for delivery to users. For …

  1. Chris G


    See title, add catcher's mitt.

    Only very serious muggers will mess with Ed.

  2. Efros

    Anyone else smell junkets?

    I really can't believe anyone is taking this seriously as a delivery option. Looks like a good number to get those overseas trips in faraway places taking a lot of tech toys with you.

  3. Christoph

    the real deal might feature "articulated legs or any suitable means of propulsion"

    Articulated legs? If they use the Luggage it will certainly be safe from anyone trying to steal the parcel.

  4. Known Hero

    What's equally unclear is how it'll get from the drone drop-off point to the customer's garage without being mugged.

    Easy, High powered anything attached with automated warning

    1. DropBear

      "What's equally unclear is how it'll get from the drone drop-off point to the customer's garage without being mugged."

      I'd bet simply inside the delivery bot. Sure you can still steal the whole thing (unless it turns out to be really heavy or something), but it should prevent casual swiping...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Would a...

    trained dog not be a better option?

    1. apolodoro

      Re: Would a...

      As long as you train the dog not to mark your packages.

      1. Robert Helpmann??

        Re: Would a...

        Needs to be a robotic dog. Rather than building a better mousetrap, it looks like Google have re-invented the mail box.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Would a...

          Yep. The main reason mail theft isn't a bigger issue is because it is a federal crime in the US to tamper with the mail. Maybe Google will use that massive lobbying apparatus to make it a federal crime to tamper with the Google walking mailbox when it carries the package from the drone to the garage.

          Why not give Amazon the RF code to your garage so they can open the door and fly right in, drop off the package, then close the door behind itself? *runs off to patent office*

  6. Rich 11


    So now they want us all to buy walking robots to get their flying robots to work.

    I'll leave that sort of menial drone-snaffling task to my monkey butler.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meh

      So now they want us all to buy walking robots to get their flying robots to work.

      Can't the flying robots fly to work?

  7. GBE

    Amazon is going to start caring about packages getting stolen?

    "For example, leaving the package on the front porch of a busy street address may make it more likely that the package is stolen."

    That's what happens to Amazon deliveries now, so why start worrying when it's tossed there by a flying drone rather than a truck-driving drone?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Amazon is going to start caring about packages getting stolen?

      Because people are looking for additional reasons to complain about the flying drone deliveries when it is a stupid idea on its own even without added worries about package theft.

  8. Eddy Ito

    Wouldn't a trebuchet or some such be simpler? It could even be a smart parcel and they should be able to deliver it right through the front window. If the military can do it with munitions why can't Google do it with packages?

    Icon because someone at Google might think this to be a good idea.

  9. The Mole


    Presumably the IR is for allowing the drone to align and hit the target, I would have thought some wireless protocol (bluetooth, wifi etc) would be far more suitable for communication.

  10. Pen-y-gors

    Too complicated.

    Why bother with the drone bit? Why not just get the robot to walk down to the mail delivery office and collect the parcel from there?

  11. Stevie


    WTF Google? Does someone else hold an active patent on A method to show ideas by means of businesslike technical drawings? What's with the third grader "explanitory" drawing in lieu of a working model?

  12. Kevin Johnston

    Is it just me?

    Or does this look like a spoiler patent since so many people are looking at the 'Droid Delivery' system. The way this is written suggests they have every form of autonomous ground-based delivery system covered.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is it just me?

      Are you new? This is how all patents are written. They are full of language describing several potential ways to implement the patented function, then the patent lawyer's favorite weasel words "but not limited to" come out to capture all the other ways you were too lazy to write down (since patent lawyers aren't paid by the word, even though you'd think so after reading a few) as well as all the ways you didn't think of but want to sue someone else for later.

  13. Cynic_999

    I can't see the idea of delivery by drone being practical except for a vanishingly small percentage of deliveries. The main problem is that most delivery addresses are nowhere near any place where it would be sufficiently safe for an automated drone to navigate to and land. A secondary problem is that a battery operated drone won't have sufficient range to deliver more that a few miles from a warehouse.

    Human piloted aircraft are constrained to fly at a height sufficient to be able to land clear of any congested area should they suffer a power failure. Any useful delivery drone has to be large enough to cause fatal injuries if it were to fall on a person, so would surely be subject to a very similar regulation. But unlike fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters, multi-rotor craft have zero gliding ability, so they would need to be equipped with a reliable fail-safe emergency parachute system at the very least, and even then I cannot see them getting approval. They would also no doubt only be permitted to deliver to an area that was guaranteed to be free of people, otherwise there is a high risk that someone could walk into the lethally rotating rotors of a drone as it came in to make a delivery. Which means having a navigations system that is more dependable than a GPS receiver operating amongst urban canyons.

  14. Ali Um Bongo
    Paris Hilton

    No Comprendo

    *"...enter the mobile delivery receptacle, which is informed of a incoming package and travels to the delivery location, or presumably as close as is safe for the drone to venture..."*

    Why not just send the parcel via the delivery vehicle in the first place, then?

  15. John Robson Silver badge

    Front porch?

    Why not have the drone drop the package into the BACK garden - the one that is normally much more secure (at least in the UK)

    Lay out a small pad for final visual approach, go to work - return to find package (which is rain proof) on the pad outside back door.

    1. Seajay#

      Re: Front porch?

      I think that is plan A. The trouble is, not everyone has a back garden so this is plan B.

  16. annodomini2

    Prior art?

    Needs to be made of Sapient pear wood, have 50 legs and Teeth...

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