Walmart has submitted a patent application to track delivery drones with the aid of the blockchain technology.
Submitted to the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) on the 25 May, the application titled Unmanned Aerial Delivery to Secure Location, is seeking to employ the use of the blockchain, which would track shipments.
In the application, it states:
In some embodiments, the delivery box may also include a delivery encryption system comprising a blockchain for package tracking and authentication. Package tracking by blockchain may include elements including but not limited to location, supply chain transition, authentication of the courier and customer, ambient temperature of the container, temperature of the product if available, acceptable thresholds for ambient temperature of the product, package contents placed in the container system (products & goods), or a combination thereof.
The application reveals a diagram of Walmart’s drone system:
Another section of the application adds:
In some embodiments, the blockchain associated with the contents placed in the delivery box dynamically adjusts to account for the cold chain status of an item for delivery to the delivery box. A process may begin with a product of the contents having a blockchain identifier. When the product’s identifier is scanned at or by the delivery box, the delivery box may receive and process product specific information. The delivery boxy 1, or more specifically a computer processor, may then retrieve specific handling information (temperature, etc.) from either the product’s blockchain or from a central server, which will provide a block of information related to the product’s specific handling.
This is the latest development regarding Walmart and its interest in the blockchain.
In October, Walmart and multinational technology company IBM teamed up to put Chinese pork on the distributed ledger, ensuring customer confidence in the food industry. It is hoped that by doing so, it will prevent food disasters such as those that have taken place in China. Namely, the 2008 toxic mixture of milk and infant formula combined with melamine, which killed six children, put thousands of others in hospital and sickened much more.
Furthermore, in November, the retail giant revealed that it was undertaking a trial with the blockchain technology to tackle food safety. Walmart are hoping to determine that with the use of the technology they can obtain the information they require such as the supplier, where the food is grown and who inspected it. If an outbreak occurs, they will then be able to determine where exactly the food came from, effectively removing the bad batches of food.
This move to track delivery drones with the blockchain further adds to the company’s keeness to embrace the technology for a smooth running operation.
Featured image from Shutterstock.