This is exactly how I would react if a drone came flying at me.
The U.S. Patent Office on Tuesday issued a patent for an unmanned aerial vehicle that can understand and react to human gestures. Accompanying the document is an image of a drone, a house, and a person flailing wildy. A blank speech bubble opens an endless list of possibilities of what the person is saying (yelling) at the drone. Use your imagination.
In the filing, Amazon says the technology could be used to adjust plans for a drone delivered package after getting feedback from humans either through visible and audible gestures. Amazon doesn’t specify what gestures the drone could react to, but directions to place a package in a certain spot, or a wave of the arms to tell the machine not to come any closer seem like solid bets.
The idea behind the patent doesn’t appear to be new. Text in the document says it is a continuation of patent application back in 2014 for “human interaction with unmanned aerial vehicles.”
Amazon declined to comment on the filing.
The inventor is listed as Frederik Schaffalitzky. A LinkedIn profile says Schaffalitzky worked as a principal research scientist for two years at Amazon before going to Apple’s Seattle office in early 2016.
Amazon frequently files patents for futuristic concepts like this. Some will find their into Amazon products, while others will never see the light of day. Another recent far-out Amazon patent deals with a mixed reality mirror that puts a user’s image into a virtual environment with virtual outfits.