December 7, 2017

21ST CENTURY HEADLINES: Amazon will cause rogue delivery drones to have a controlled self destruct.

The use of UAVs is accompanied by the need for new solutions to various problems, such as service disruptions due to unsuitable weather conditions, equipment malfunctions, and other problems.

In that context, various embodiments related to the fragmentation of UAVs are described. In one case, a UAV includes various parts or components, such one or more motors, batteries, sensors, a housing, casing or shell, and a shipping container or other payload for delivery. Additionally, the UAV includes a flight controller and a fragmentation controller. The flight controller determines a flight path and controls a flight operation of the UAV for delivery of the payload.

While the UAV is in-flight, the fragmentation controller develops and updates a fragmentation sequence. Among other information, the fragmentation sequence includes a release timing and a release location to fragment away (e.g., release, drop, jettison, eject, etc. away) one or more UAV components in case the flight operation of the UAV is disrupted. The fragmentation sequence can be evaluated and updated over time based on the flight path of the UAV, the ongoing flight conditions for the UAV, and the terrain topology over which the UAV is flying, among other factors. Terrain topology information or data can identify certain preferred locations for dropping one or more of the components of the UAV. For example, the terrain topology information can identify bodies of water, forested areas, open fields, and other locations more suitable for dropping components of the UAV if or when flight operation errors, malfunctions, or unexpected conditions occur.

What the article doesn’t describe is what happens to the package.