Directed fragmentation of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is described. In one embodiment, the UAV includes various components, such one or more motors, batteries, sensors, a housing, casing or shell, and a 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. During the flight operation, the fragmentation controller develops a fragmentation sequence for one or more of the components based on the flight path, the flight conditions, and terrain topology information, among other factors. The fragmentation controller can also detect a disruption in the flight operation of the UAV and, in response, direct fragmentation of one or more of the components apart from the UAV. In that way, a controlled, directed fragmentation of the UAV can be accomplished upon any disruption to the flight operation of the UAV.
When being delivered, packages are often transported by vehicles over roads, sometimes across long distances. New modes of transportation, however, may include delivery by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). 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.
The fragmentation controller can also detect disruptions in the flight operation of the UAV and, in response, direct fragmentation of one or more components of the UAV apart from the UAV based on the fragmentation sequence. In that way, a controlled, directed fragmentation of various parts of the UAV can be accomplished upon disruption of the flight operations of the UAV or at other desired times. This can result in the UAV, and certain parts of the UAV, landing at more preferable or suitable locations if flight operations are disrupted.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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