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Zacc Dukowitz

Walmart on Track to File More Drone Patents than Amazon for Second Year in a Row

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Walmart is currently on track to file more drone-related patents than Amazon for the second year in a row—since June of 2018, Walmart has filed 97 new drone patents with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), while Amazon has filed only 54.

Read today's article to learn more about all the ways Walmart is looking into using drones, including having them provide customer service in its huge Supercenters. Assuming Walmart and Amazon are in a war over consumer deliveries, does owning more patents mean you're winning, or is that a little too simplistic? Chime in here to share your thoughts.

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Having spent 27 years in the low level VFR environment in helos, I'm extremely skeptical about mass drone package delivery.  Not every obstruction is in a database and drone obstacle detection is not perfect science yet.  What if I want my package when its IFR?  How does Walmart deconflict their drones from Amazon?  We're not there yet.  Technology-wise or policy-wise.

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2 hours ago, Cyclops55 said:

What if I want my package when its IFR

The helicopters won’t be flying and it doesn’t matter to an autonomous UAV whether it’s IFR or VFR.  

2 hours ago, Cyclops55 said:

Not every obstruction is in a database and drone obstacle detection is not perfect science yet. 

That’s right and there’s a huge difference between detection and avoidance.  The standoff distance for sUAS detection is in the tens of feet, but for avoidance it needs to be able to track multiple obstacles as far out as a mile.  That’s also going to depend on the compute speed on the UAS.  This technology is probably a decade away and the policy is even further..

 

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50 minutes ago, Av8Chuck said:

The helicopters won’t be flying and it doesn’t matter to an autonomous UAV whether it’s IFR or VFR.  

That’s right and there’s a huge difference between detection and avoidance.  The standoff distance for sUAS detection is in the tens of feet, but for avoidance it needs to be able to track multiple obstacles as far out as a mile.  That’s also going to depend on the compute speed on the UAS.  This technology is probably a decade away and the policy is even further..

 

Agree.  There is no policy for IFR drone ops, but theoretically autonomous should not be a problem.  But there has to be an overarching system of traffic deconfliction.

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