Amazon patent for mobile drone electric car chargingEnlarge Photo
Amazon, once a humble bookseller, now dips its toes into numerous technology realms. Its next potential act? Perhaps it will be drones that can charge electric cars on the fly.
The online retailer and technology company filed an application to patent a drone specifically built for electric-car charging when a charging station isn't nearby.
The patent even includes a number of ways the drone might attach to the electric car to provide a charge while the vehicle moves.
To be clear, the patent does not describe the drone as a way to fully charge an electric car.
Per the patent discovery, which The Drive published in October, the drone would provide emergency charging of sorts as a vehicle reached the end of its range.
In the event of low range, the car would request an Amazon drone for recharging via a server.
ebee streelight charging stationEnlarge Photo
From there, the drone would identify a roof-mounted target and dock with the car to charge the battery pack while the car moves.
It's unclear how long the process could take or how much range the drone would provide; Amazon seems to imagine the service would supplement a proper charging infrastructure and simply provide a backup.
Following the charge, the drone would then lift off and return to a base to charge itself before another electric car requests its charging services.
One interesting piece of information on the patent itself: Amazon moved to protect the system and drone in 2014.
Companies regularly move to patent processes and products with no intention to bring whatever the product or service is to market, so we may never see such a system come to life at all.
HorseFly drone option for Workhorse N-Gen electric delivery vanEnlarge Photo
In general, however, drones seem poised to become more prevalent in daily life.
Most recently, Workhorse debuted its N-Gen plug-in hybrid delivery van for last-mile services.
The electrified van comes equipped with its own FAA-approved drone to deliver parcels weighing up to 10 pounds within the driver's line of sight.
Today, package deliveries, but many tomorrows from now, maybe it will be electric-car charging.