Amazon patents a drone charging station for electric vehicles
... this service would certainly diminish an electric car owner's concern of having enough charge to travel from A to B
A newly-approved US patent could see the removal of a large stumbling block for the increased take-up of electric vehicles.
There’s many, many things that still have to be debated, resolved, codified, etc. before electric vehicles become an easier choice to take, but one worry the public has is battery range. It’s quite the leap to move away from the combustible engine car to an electric vehicle. With the former, it has a range of many hundreds of kilometres on a full tank, not to mention an extensive network of petrol stations. The latter currently has a range of a couple of hundred kilometres and a small (but growing) network of electric charging stations.
This is a particular concern in Australia. It’s geographically large, and the nascent network of charging stations is, like the population, heavily clustered in the narrow band between the east coast of the country and the Great Dividing Range. Battery tech is always advancing, and there is a better network of charging stations being built, but for now battery range is a definite concern for people.
All of which makes the the news this week that the US Patent & Trademark Office approved a patent for the delivery by drone of a charge for an electric vehicle. Yes, it’s only a patent, and it may not result in an actual product or service.
This brings to mind Amazon’s 2016 patent to build a system of ‘perches’ to dock and charge the drones themselves. As a matter of fact, these two Amazon patents could work well in tandem – perch, charge itself, and be ready to deliver a charge to electric vehicles across a wide network.
But let’s take a look at the idea. Amazon first applied for the patent in 2014. Here’s the patent abstract:
“Devices such as vehicles, remote sensors, and so forth consume energy during operation. Described herein are systems, devices, and methods for transferring energy from an uncrewed autonomous vehicle to a vehicle such as a car. The uncrewed autonomous vehicle may locate the vehicle at a rendezvous location, and connect with the vehicle while the vehicle moves. Once the uncrewed autonomous vehicle connects to the vehicle, the uncrewed autonomous vehicle may transfer the energy to the vehicle.”
If implemented, this service would certainly diminish an electric car owner’s concern of having enough charge to travel from A to B, particularly on long trips in less populous locations, or when low on juice and stuck in traffic.
A hat tip to the Greentech Media site for picking up news of this patent approval.