We all know that drones will be doing our product deliveries very very soon. Many companies like Google, Amazon, UPS are developing drone technology for deliveries.
One of the biggest challenges that these companies face is that they will have to maintain a will huge fleet of drones of various kinds, to be able to lift payloads of various sizes and weights. Now, this is going to be really expensive and cumbersome. So nobody wants them.
Boeing has now developed a universal lift vehicle that can be quickly reconfigured based on the size and the weight of the payload. If the weight of a payload is less, then a single drone is used to transfer the payload. For example: delivering pizza in a neighborhood. However, if a payload is heavier, then multiple drones are connected together to build a lift vehicle that can carry the heavy payload, for example, a piece of furniture.
A single drone has a capacity to carry a certain weight. So just by joining multiple drones, virtually any sized payload can be lifted. Which makes this a universal lift vehicle.
Boeing has another cool application of this invention, that is to use it as an industrial lift. Individual drones are loaded into a truck and carried to the location of the payload. Tethers are then used to lift the payload with precision. Tethers also provide electrical power to the drones as they lift the heavy payload. The lift vehicle can also be used to provide mobile lights and deliver aerial ads.
This unified lift vehicle patented by Boeing should be widely used as it solves a major problem with the drone deliveries.
Publication number: US 9,457,899
Patent Title: Modular vehicle lift system
Publication date: 4 Oct 2016
Filing date: 24 Jun 2013
Inventors: Michael J. Duffy; Scott H. Bouwer; John J. Mattero;
Original Assignee: The Boeing Company