Amazon is planning to use its soon to be launched fleet of delivery drones to film shopper’s houses and create a digital flying neighbourhood watch scheme.
Questions have been raised whether the online giant is planning to later arm its drone with military grade weaponry.
According to a New English Times investigation, the retailer has filed a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a new system called “surveillance as a service” which would turn its delivery drones into hovering intelligent security cameras.
The system would see Amazon’s drones watch customers’ houses while making deliveries, checking for any unusual signs such as broken windows, open doors or people loitering in the area, then taking and sending photos to the customer and law enforcement.
Its not just during delivery runs that the drones would be utilised however, with the patent stating customers can request the drones to check on their house hourly, daily or weekly.
Amazon is also planning to beef up its drones’ features, adding a microphone to listen for sounds of possible crime, and even night vision and infrared cameras to view activity at night.
Earlier this month Amazon unveiled its new six-rotor delivery drone, a hybrid aircraft capable of vertical take-off and landing, as well as sustained forward flight, which uses a combination of data from visual, thermal and ultrasonic sensors to autonomously navigate.
It is also capable of transporting 2.3kg packages up to 15 miles, meeting the retailer’s ambitions of creating “fully electric drones that can fly up to 15 miles and deliver packages under five pounds to customers in less than 30 minutes.”
Amazon is understood to be very close to meeting this goal, adding that it planned to begin making deliveries over the next few months.