Running out of gas is a nightmare. Depending on the nearness of a charging solution, running out of juice in your electric car far from home could be even worse. A new Amazon patent imagines a solution: sending out drones that carry charge out to your car.
Amazon applied for the patent, spotted by , in 2014, but was granted it only earlier this month. The patent describes "systems, devices and methods delivering energy using an uncrewed autonomous vehicle (UAV)." The patent's approval comes on the heels of a news making-battery extension plan: Tesla's ability to power remotely .
Essentially, it places a charger on the roof of a car and lets a drone plug into said car to give it an added boost. "Once the UAV receives instructions to transfer energy to the vehicle," the , "the UAV may travel to a rendezvous location at which the transfer of energy may occur." The Seattle-based shopping giant notes that "in some implementations, for the UAV to meet with the vehicle, the vehicle may provide information indicative of the speed of the vehicle, the direction of the vehicle, an anticipated action of the vehicle, an anticipated action of the vehicle, and so forth."
Amazon even imagines a possibility where the UAV is using "the motion information to adjust the route to the rendezvous location," controlling how the car is going to get to its final destination based on the amount of energy it requires.
Current technology would need to make several leaps in order to make remote refueling possible. On a massive scale, a whole fleet of drones would need to be strong and fast enough to meet a car driver wherever they were. There would be questions about how much new juice the drones would actually contain, perhaps no more than half an hour's worth of travel. But even that might prove handy in a pinch.
Amazon gets all sorts of patents filed, from to . There's no guarantee that Amazon will build a drone that will control your car while also powering it, but legally, now they could.