Amazon granted patent to use delivery drones for home surveillance

Amazon has been granted a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to use delivery drones for home surveillance to consumers.

The patent, which is for what Amazon calls “Image creation using geo-fence data,” was granted on June 4.

The patent explains that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, could be used to perform  surveillance at a property. A property, Amazon explains, may be defined by a geo-fence of an authorized party.

Image from the Amazon patent showing how delivery drones would provide surveillance. – US Patent and Trademark Office/Amazon

The application explains that as UAVs becomes prevalent, those traveling to and from a delivery destination could also be used to perform secondary tasks, such as surveillance.

The patent briefly describes a model in which consumers would have the ability to pay for visits on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis.

To address some of the privacy concerns of such a service, Amazon says it will use geofencing, or digital perimeters around a location.

John Tagle, senior PR manager for Amazon, was quoted by CNET as saying:

“We take customer privacy very seriously.

“Some reports have suggested that this technology would spy or gather data on homes without authorization — to be clear, that’s not what the patent says. The patent clearly states that it would be an opt-in service available to customers who authorize monitoring of their home.”