Tag Archives: amazon

Parachutes for Amazon Packages via Drones

Is Amazon one step closer to actually delivering packages to homes via drones? Find out in this article from pcmag.com.

Amazon drone
Photo courtesy Amazon.

Amazon Considers Parachutes for Drone Delivered Packages

By Matthew Humphries

Why risk a landing when a package can be dropped from a safe height…

Amazon needs to overcome a number of hurdles in order to make Prime Air drone deliveries a reality. The biggest of those is the fact that under current laws it isn’t legal. But if we assume laws will change and Amazon drones are going to fill the skies, the next problem to solve is the best way to leave a package at its destination.

The most obvious way to achieve this is to have the drone land, release the package from its underbelly, and take off again. But this method carries a lot of risk. A pet or human could be injured by the drone, the drone could topple over and become stuck, or it could be stolen. It’s much safer to keep the bow-and-arrow-proof drone flying at all times, so Amazon is investigating other ways to, quite literally, drop the package off at its destination.

CNN discovered a new patent granted to Amazon, entitled “Maneuvering a package following in-flight release from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV),” which describes methods to “forcefully propel a package” from a drone in order to alter its descent trajectory. In other words, the ability to drop a package and make sure it lands in the right place.

Three methods of controlled descent are discussed: a parachute, landing flaps, and compressed air canisters. All three allow for the direction of a dropped package to be changed if necessary (for example, there’s high winds blowing the package off course). The drone would monitor the descent, sensors would be included with the package, and together they can determine if an adjustment is needed. If so, a flap can be deployed, the canister could fire a blast or two of air, or one or more parachutes could be released.

Even though this drop method would allow the drone to keep flying, they all sound like very complicated and expensive ways to get a package to drop in the right place. Wouldn’t it just be easier to have the drone determine how low it needs to hover based on the weather conditions to ensure a successful drop? Then encase the parcel in a drop-friendly protective packaging and let it go. Simple, cheap, reliable.

Click here to see more from pcmag.com.

More Audiobook Sources Coming to iTunes

Check out this quick article from theverge.com, which explains how you’ll soon see more audiobook sources available on iTunes:

Photo courtesy of theverge.com
Photo courtesy of theverge.com

Apple and Amazon end decade-long audiobook exclusivity deal

Regulators said the deal was limiting competition

By Jacob Kastrenakes

Apple and Amazon have agreed to end an exclusivity agreement that made Audible the only seller of audiobooks inside of iTunes.

The agreement had been in place for over a decade, since 2003, but came to an end earlier this month following complaints from German publishers and investigations by European antitrust regulators, who were concerned that the agreement was stifling competition and raising prices.

Regulators began investigating in late 2015. It appears all investigations are being suspended in light of the companies’ decisions to end the exclusivity agreement.

“With the deletion of the exclusivity agreement, Apple will now have the opportunity to purchase digital audiobooks from other suppliers,” Andreas Mundt, president of Germany’s antitrust agency, said in a statement. “This will enable a wider range of offer and lower prices for consumers.”

In a statement, Audible confirmed that it had removed the exclusivity provision in its agreement with Apple, and added that it will continue to offer audiobooks through iTunes. Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

The European Commission said it welcomed the agreement. It said the change is “likely to improve competition” for audiobook distribution in Europe — though, since the agreement applied elsewhere, it could have the same affect globally, too.

Audible has dominated the audiobook market for years now. And with iTunes being one of the key places that consumers go to buy audiobooks, the agreement could have put serious limitations on the industry. Publishers either had to go through Audible, or miss out on a major storefront. They’ll now be able to go directly to Apple for distribution.

Click here to see more from theverge.com.

Futuristic-Looking Lamp from GE Features Alexa

Read the article below from theverge.com to learn about a cool GE lamp that features Amazon’s Alexa.

device pitstop alexa lamp
Photo courtesy GE

GE made a circular lamp with Alexa in it

By Jacob Kastrenakes

Amazon started allowing other companies to build Alexa into their own products last year, and today GE is unveiling what might be the most compelling example yet. It’s a wild LED lamp that’s kind of like what would happen if you attached a large, glowing ring to the top of an Echo Dot.

The lamp looks all at once futuristic, kind of goofy, and like it’ll fit terribly in your apartment. But having a thing that looks like a physical re-creation of the Cortana ring at home just seems kind of great.

GE doesn’t have a fancy name for the product — right now, it’s just being called the LED lamp or LED table lamp. I’m sure the name would be much more absurd if this thing had launched on Kickstarter.

The lamp functions more or less like any Echo device would. It includes always-on microphones listening for commands and questions, and when it hears one, it’ll react or speak out a response through its built-in speakers. Don’t expect those speakers to be great for music, though; a representative said they would be close in quality to the Echo Dot’s speakers, which we said were just enough to “be used in a pinch to play music.”

What the lamp does add to the picture is, of course, voice control over its built-in lamp. A big part of Alexa’s appeal is its growing ability to control connected devices throughout a home; that means building Alexa into a product as practical as a lamp makes a lot of sense, even if the design is far from practical.

GE says that the lamp design we’re seeing today isn’t final, but it’s supposed to be very close to the final product, which should only see tweaks to the dimensions of what’s being presented here.

The lamp is supposed to ship sometime in the second quarter of 2017.

Click here to see more from theverge.com.