Google announced last November that it would launch its Project Wing drone delivery service in 2017. The company hasn’t said much about its plans, but a patent granted today gives us a closer look at how it might drop off packages at your doorstep in under 30 minutes.
The patent describes a ‘delivery receptacle’ with room for holding packages and wheels to move around. It receives notifications of an incoming delivery drone and emits infrared beacons to guide the drone towards itself.
Once the drone is close enough and in position, it deposits its payload in the receptacle, which then moves along to wait for you in a secure location, like your garage.
That could put an end to your worries about whether someone will steal your packages off your porch if you aren’t home to receive them. But it remains to be seen if this system will figure into Project Wing at launch.
Amazon is also in the race to launch delivery drones. The company showed off a prototype last November that is said to be capable of carrying up to five pounds and flying at altitudes under 400 feet over 10 miles or more.
Earlier this month, Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president for global public policy, said that the company is working on different kinds of drones for various environments like rural farmlands, suburban neighborhoods and high-rise apartment complexes.
Google’s robot box is similar in some ways to Starship’s self-driving delivery robot, which aims to carry packages across the city at four miles an hour to your doorstep. But while it aims to provide an alternative to drones, Google’s idea is more about assisting them.