Amazon was recently awarded a patent for technology that involves drones charging cars on the move. From the patent filing, it can be gathered that the device is designed to work as a range extension service for electric cars when there are no recharge stations nearby or if the car is running out of power.
According to Cnet, the patent is called "Systems, devices and methods delivering energy using an uncrewed autonomous vehicle". Drawings of the patent point out to it being a system that will work while the vehicle is on the move.
There is no indication of when the device will be built and deployed. There is no certainty around it even being built in the first place. The report notes that Amazon could have filed for this patent simply to prevent other companies from getting to it first even if they do not really have any intention of building it.
The idea behind the technology is a station or their proposed "giant inner-city towers" that feed drones to hold and store their battery carriers with fully charged batteries. If a car is in need of a quick top up to extend its range to the next recharge station, a drone can be requested. Once the signal is received, the drone will fly to the car, identify it, and attach itself to the top of the vehicle, giving it power.
The report mentions that a drone delivering power to a car on the move cannot be very large and if it is small, it might not be able to deliver too much charge. Even Tesla's Superchargers, which might be installed in petrol stations everywhere, need almost 40 minutes to charge a car battery.
When the drone approaches the vehicle it needs to charge, it will dock itself on the roof of the car and power it. There is not much else to go on as far as the patent goes, but simply having a way to extend a car trip by a few miles between stations can be a relief for those who are still not comfortable about driving electric cars through long distances, noted the report.
Amazon is really pushing for automation, drone deliveries, driverless delivery vehicles, and even plan on having floating warehouses in the form of blips. While a lot of these technologies feed into the company's product delivery service as an online marketplace, it is not clear where this service will fit in.