Amazon has been awarded two patents in which it outlines propellers with robotic adjustable wingtips and legs that act as landing gears to help drones touch down on uneven surfaces.
The e-commerce giant's latest idea describes an "adjustable landing-gear extension" that can be extended or contracted. Amazon says "distance determining elements" would be able to judge how far the drone is from the ground. Sensors on the landing arm would be able to detect contact with the ground and adjust so that the drone is horizontal and not tilted.
This technology could be key if drones deliver fragile packages on tough terrain.
"For example, when a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) is landing, the slope of the surface may be determined and the landing gear extensions adjusted based on the slope so that the body of the UAV remains approximately horizontal when the UAV lands and is supported by the landing gear extensions," the filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office said.