The United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted Amazon.com Inc a patent that describes a surveillance as a service for the company's customers.
The company, which is exploring using drones to deliver packages at homes, seems to be exploring ways to use delivery drones that can be used can be used to record video and gather data that can be analyzed to look out, for example, a broken window, or a fire or if a garage door was left open during the day.
The drones will be limited to fly within a virtual boundary around the property under surveillance, and they will capture footage from only inside this area and not outside of it.
Here is the description of the patent:
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) may perform a surveillance action at a property of an authorized party. The property may be defined by a geo-fence, which may be a virtual perimeter or boundary around a real-world geographic area. The UAV may image the property to generate surveillance images, and the surveillance images may include image data of objects inside the geo-fence and image data of objects outside the geo-fence. While gathering surveillance images, or after the surveillance images have been gathered, the geo-fence information may be used to obscure or remove image data referring to objects outside the geo-fence. Geo-clipped surveillance images may be generated by physically constraining a sensor of the UAV, by performing pre-image capture processing, or post-image capture processing. Geo-clipped surveillance images may be limited to authorized property, so privacy is ensured for private persons and property.
The patent was filed by the e-commerce giant in 2015 and was granted on June 4.
Earlier this month, Amazon said it will start drones delivering packages to customers in 30 minutes or less in the coming months.