Amazon received a patent that covers technology to give it extra anti-hacking protections when drones are out doing deliveries, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Amazon, which has dubbed its drone-based delivery service Prime Air, recently had its first actual drone delivery using the technology. The e-commerce giant initially filed in 2014 for the patented technology covering “countermeasures of threats to an uncrewed autonomous vehicle.”
The technology patent is based on both a so-called mesh network and the process of several drones communicating with one another through the sharing of data “to confirm or cross-check data such as location, heading, altitude, and so forth” — all designed to detect data differences and possible signs of a drone being compromised.
“Disagreement between data generated by the first UAV with external data from the second UAV may result in the determination that the first UAV is compromised,” the filing explains.
Moreover, the filing reveals that communications links on the mesh network can be encrypted and use other techniques such as “frequency hopping, spread-spectrum, and so forth, to maintain security, reduce interference.”
According to the filing, “The countermeasures may reduce or eliminate ill-intentioned acts, inadvertent system failures, or mitigate the impact of such acts or failures. For example, theft of the UAVs or items carried by the UAVs due tampering may be reduced or eliminated.
“If a malicious person attempts to gain control of the UAV, the compromise may be detected, and the UAV may enter a fail-safe mode in which the UAV returns to base or lands on the ground,” the patent filing states.