Patents by Inventor Michael D. Atchley

Michael D. Atchley has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Publication number: 20210039930
    Abstract: Some embodiments include apparatuses providing control over movement of motorized transport units at a retail facility, comprising: multiple self-propelled motorized transport units; a wireless communication network; and a central computer system, wherein the central computer system comprises: a transceiver; a control circuit; and a memory storing computer instructions that when executed cause the control circuit to: receive an override command, from a worker associated with the retail facility, to cause a first motorized transport unit of the multiple motorized transport units to implement one or more actions; confirm a valid authorization of the worker to override one or more operating limits of the first motorized transport unit; and override the one or more operating limits and communicate one or more instructions to the first motorized transport unit configured to cause the first motorized transport unit to implement the one or more actions in accordance with the override command.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 27, 2020
    Publication date: February 11, 2021
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, Karl Kay, David C. Winkle
  • Publication number: 20210009391
    Abstract: Methods and apparatuses are provided for use in monitor power levels at a shopping facility, comprising: central control system separate and distinct from a plurality of self-propelled motorized transport units, wherein the central control system comprises: a transceiver configured to wirelessly receive communications from the plurality of motorized transport units; a control circuit coupled with the transceiver; and a memory coupled to the control circuit and storing computer instructions that cause the control circuit to: identify available stored power levels at each of the plurality of motorized transport units; identify an available recharge station, of a plurality of recharge stations distributed throughout the shopping facility, at least relative to a location of the first motorized transport unit intended to be subjected to recharging; and wirelessly communicate one or more instructions to cause the first motorized transport unit to cooperate with an available recharge station.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 24, 2020
    Publication date: January 14, 2021
    Inventors: John P. Thompson, Michael D. Atchley, Donald R. High
  • Patent number: 10875752
    Abstract: Some embodiments provide a system comprising: multiple self-propelled motorized transport units; a wireless communication network; and a central computer comprising: a transceiver, a control circuit and a memory storing computer instructions that when executed by the control circuit cause the control circuit to: receive a request from a customer requesting location information for a requested item; identify the requested item is a category of items, and identify category location information; communicate routing instructions to the motorized transport unit based on the category location information causing the motorized transport unit to initiate physical movement; and communicate to the motorized transport unit a species clarification inquiry instruction configured to cause the motorized transport unit, while implementing routing instructions to move toward the category location, to present a clarification inquiry to the customer seeking clarification in narrowing the identified category to one or more produ
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 9, 2018
    Date of Patent: December 29, 2020
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, David C. Winkle
  • Publication number: 20200372455
    Abstract: In some embodiments, methods and systems are provided for facilitating delivery of products purchased over the internet by the customers to the customers from a selected product stocking facility of the retailer. The products can be delivered to the customer from the selected product stocking facility of the retailer via a worker of the product stocking facility or an unmanned delivery vehicle.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 11, 2020
    Publication date: November 26, 2020
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Robert L. Cantrell, Michael D. Atchley, Todd D. Mattingly
  • Patent number: 10815104
    Abstract: Methods and apparatuses are provided for use in monitor power levels at a shopping facility, comprising: central control system separate and distinct from a plurality of self-propelled motorized transport units, wherein the central control system comprises: a transceiver configured to wirelessly receive communications from the plurality of motorized transport units; a control circuit coupled with the transceiver; and a memory coupled to the control circuit and storing computer instructions that cause the control circuit to: identify available stored power levels at each of the plurality of motorized transport units; identify an available recharge station, of a plurality of recharge stations distributed throughout the shopping facility, at least relative to a location of the first motorized transport unit intended to be subjected to recharging; and wirelessly communicate one or more instructions to cause the first motorized transport unit to cooperate with an available recharge station.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 14, 2018
    Date of Patent: October 27, 2020
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: John P. Thompson, Michael D. Atchley, Donald R. High
  • Patent number: 10807714
    Abstract: In some embodiments, systems, apparatuses and methods are provided herein that enable delivery of retail products. Some embodiments provide delivery systems comprising: a package support frame comprising first and second package supports, and a pivot coupler pivotably securing the first package support with the second package support; and a first release plate positioned across a separation between the first and second package supports, and comprising: a set of at least one angled locking grooves; a set of at least one groove pins slidably positioned within a respective one of the locking grooves; and a release tab configured to contact a surface and cause an unlocking of the first release plate such that the release plate moves with the locking grooves sliding along respective groove pins such that the base of the package support pivots away from the base of the second package support enlarging a package release aperture.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 30, 2018
    Date of Patent: October 20, 2020
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Michael D. Atchley, John P. Thompson, Eric A. Letson, Robert C. Taylor, Nathan G. Jones
  • Patent number: 10773891
    Abstract: In some embodiments, methods and systems for fulfilling consumer orders are provided. A stocking station includes at least one robotic stocking arm configured to unload a product from a first receptacle and to place the unloaded product onto a storage shelf, and a first picking station includes a first robotic picking arm configured to pick a first product from the storage shelf and to load the first product picked from the storage shelf into a second receptacle for delivery to a consumer. An empty receptacle placement station includes at least one robotic placing arm configured to place an empty second receptacle onto a packing conveyor configured to transport the empty second receptacle toward the first picking station for loading of the first product into the empty second receptacle. An electronic inventory management device transmits a signal the empty receptacle placement station and the first robotic picking arm.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 11, 2018
    Date of Patent: September 15, 2020
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley
  • Publication number: 20200270106
    Abstract: Systems and methods are provided to address incorrectly placed items. Some systems comprise: a plurality of motorized transport units that are each configured to perform multiple different tasks at a retail shopping facility; and a central computer system configured to instruct various ones of the plurality of motorized transport units to implement at least one of the multiple different tasks relative to the retail shopping facility, receive and analyze input data detected and provided by the motorized transport units while the motorized transport units perform the at least one of the tasks, and detect and categorize each item of multiple items that are incorrectly placed within the retail shopping facility according to one of multiple different predefined categories.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 24, 2020
    Publication date: August 27, 2020
    Inventors: Donald R. High, David C. Winkle, Brian G. McHale, Michael D. Atchley
  • Publication number: 20200189891
    Abstract: Apparatuses, components and methods are provided herein useful to provide assistance to customers and/or workers in a shopping facility. In some embodiments, a shopping facility personal assistance system comprises: a plurality of motorized transport units located in and configured to move through a shopping facility space; a plurality of user interface units, each corresponding to a respective motorized transport unit during use of the respective motorized transport unit; and a central computer system having a network interface such that the central computer system wirelessly communicates with one or both of the plurality of motorized transport units and the plurality of user interface units, wherein the central computer system is configured to control movement of the plurality of motorized transport units through the shopping facility space based at least on inputs from the plurality of user interface units.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 21, 2019
    Publication date: June 18, 2020
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, Shuvro Chakrobartty, Karl Kay, Brian G. McHale, Robert C. Taylor, John P. Thompson, Eric E. Welch, David C. Winkle
  • Patent number: 10669140
    Abstract: Systems and methods are provided to address incorrectly placed items. Some systems comprise: a plurality of motorized transport units that are each configured to perform multiple different tasks at a retail shopping facility; and a central computer system configured to instruct various ones of the plurality of motorized transport units to implement at least one of the multiple different tasks relative to the retail shopping facility, receive and analyze input data detected and provided by the motorized transport units while the motorized transport units perform the at least one of the tasks, and detect and categorize each item of multiple items that are incorrectly placed within the retail shopping facility according to one of multiple different predefined categories.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 3, 2017
    Date of Patent: June 2, 2020
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, David C. Winkle, Brian G. McHale, Michael D. Atchley
  • Patent number: 10625899
    Abstract: In some embodiments, systems, apparatuses and methods are provided herein that enable delivery of retail products. Some embodiments provide retail product delivery transport packages, comprising: a base; a first set of tapered walls comprising at least two side walls that are separated by a length of the base and extend from the base at an angle such that a distance between the first tapered wall and the second tapered wall at the opening is greater than a distance between the first tapered wall and the second tapered wall at the base, and wherein the first and second tapered walls are configured to frictionally engage first and second tapered package support walls, respectively, of a delivery package carrier system; and a second set of at least one wall comprising at least a first vertical wall.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 30, 2018
    Date of Patent: April 21, 2020
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Michael D. Atchley, Robert C. Taylor, John P. Thompson, Eric A. Letson
  • Patent number: 10614503
    Abstract: Systems, apparatuses and methods are provided herein for providing surveying premises of a customer. In one embodiment, a system for surveying premises of a customer comprises: an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) comprising a three dimension (3D) scanner and an image sensor, and a control circuit comprising a communication device configured to communicate with the UAV. The control circuit being configured to: receive, from a customer, a premises location, instruct the UAV to travel to the premises location to collect a set of data, form a 3D point cloud model of the premises based on 3D data collected by the 3D scanner of the UAV, identify one or more features of the premises based on the 3D point cloud model and image data collected by the image sensor of the UAV, and generate a recommendation to the customer based on the one or more features of the premises.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 16, 2016
    Date of Patent: April 7, 2020
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, David C. Winkle, Michael D. Atchley
  • Patent number: 10611614
    Abstract: Some embodiments include a motorized transport unit providing customer assistance at a shopping facility, comprises: a transceiver; a control circuit; a motorized wheel system; a lift system; and a memory coupled to the control circuit and storing computer instructions that when executed by the control circuit cause the control circuit to: activate a motorized wheel system, while continuing to monitor location information, to position the motorized transport unit under the item container and aligned, based on the location information, relative to a frame of the item container; and activate the lift system to lift on the frame of the item container lifting a first portion of the item container such one or more wheels of the item container are lifted off of a floor while two or more other wheels of the item container remain in contact with the floor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 8, 2018
    Date of Patent: April 7, 2020
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, David C. Winkle, Michael D. Atchley
  • Patent number: 10600023
    Abstract: Systems, apparatuses, and methods are provided herein for dynamic inventory management. A system for dynamic layaway inventory management comprises a layaway contract database, an inventory database, and a control circuit. The control circuit being configured to periodically: aggregate a plurality of layaway contracts in the layaway contract database to determine convey locations and convey dates for one or more units of an item, determine inventory unit counts of the item at a plurality of item locations based on inventory information stored in the inventory database, determine a layaway reserve unit count for each of the plurality of item locations based on the convey locations and the convey dates for the one or more units of the item and the inventory unit counts of the item at the plurality of item locations, and cause a number of available units of the item to be adjusted based on the layaway reserve unit count.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 24, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 24, 2020
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley
  • Patent number: 10592842
    Abstract: In some embodiments, methods and systems of loading products into a cargo space of a delivery vehicle for delivery to retail sales facilities are described. A computing device at a product distribution facility processes an electronic packing list including products to be loaded into the cargo space of the delivery vehicle and retrieves data from a database that may include size, weight, and product characteristic parameters for the products on the electronic packing list, size and shape parameters of the cargo space of the delivery vehicle, and packing rules for the at least one product on the electronic packing list. The data is used by the computing device to generate step-by-step instructions for loading the products on the electronic packing list in a determined orientation and into a determined location in the cargo space of the delivery vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 2016
    Date of Patent: March 17, 2020
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, David E. Ferrell
  • Patent number: 10577103
    Abstract: In some embodiments, methods and systems of dispensing an insecticide to defend a crop-containing area against crop-damaging pests include an unmanned vehicle having a sensor that detects a crop-damaging pest in the crop-containing area and captures pest detection data, and an insecticide output device including at least one insecticide directed at the pest. The unmanned vehicle transmits the captured pest detection data via the network to the computing device and, in response to receipt of the captured pest detection data via the network from the unmanned vehicle, the computing device accesses an electronic database to determine an identity of the at least one pest. Based on the determined identity of the crop-damaging pest, the computing device transmits a control signal to the unmanned vehicle to cause the insecticide output device of the unmanned vehicle to dispense one or more insecticides specific to the identified crop-damaging pest.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 7, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 3, 2020
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Robert L. Cantrell, John P. Thompson, David C. Winkle, Michael D. Atchley, Donald R. High, Todd D. Mattingly, Brian G. McHale, John J. O'Brien, John F. Simon
  • Patent number: 10570000
    Abstract: Some embodiments provide apparatuses and methods useful to providing control over movement of motorized transport units. In some embodiments, an apparatus providing control over movement of motorized transport units at a shopping facility comprises: a central computer system comprising: a transceiver; a control circuit; a memory coupled to the control circuit and storing computer instructions that when executed by the control circuit cause the control circuit to perform the steps of: obtain, from one or more of the communications received from the motorized transport unit, route condition information comprising information corresponding to an intended route of travel; obtain additional route condition information detected by one or more detectors external to the motorized transport unit; detect an object affecting the intended route of travel; identify an action to be taken by the motorized transport unit with respect to the detected object; and communicate one or more instructions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 31, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 25, 2020
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, Karl Kay, Robert C. Taylor, David C. Winkle
  • Patent number: 10549969
    Abstract: Systems, apparatuses, and methods for modular compliance monitoring are provided. A system for monitoring modular compliance in a shopping space includes an image capture device, a baseline condition database, and a control circuit coupled to the image capture device and the baseline condition database. The control circuit being configured to obtain, from the image capture device, one or more images of a display module in the shopping space, retrieve, from the baseline condition database, a baseline condition model for a display space corresponding to the display module, and compare the one or more images of the display module in the shopping space and the baseline condition model to determine a modular compliance status for the display module.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: February 4, 2020
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, David C. Winkle
  • Patent number: 10520938
    Abstract: In some embodiments, unmanned aerial task systems are provided that comprise multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) each comprising: a UAV control circuit; a motor; and a propulsion system coupled with the motor and configured to enable the respective UAVs to move themselves; and wherein a first UAV control circuit of a first UAV of the multiple UAVs is configured to identify a second UAV carrying a first tool system configured to perform a first function, cause a notification to be communicated to the second UAV directing the second UAV to transfer the first tool system to the first UAV, and direct a first propulsion system of the first UAV to couple with the first tool system being transferred from the second UAV.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 2, 2019
    Date of Patent: December 31, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Robert L. Cantrell, John P. Thompson, David C. Winkle, Michael D. Atchley, Donald R. High, Todd D. Mattingly, Brian G. McHale, John J. O'Brien, John F. Simon, Nathan G. Jones, Robert C. Taylor
  • Patent number: 10520953
    Abstract: In some embodiments, unmanned aerial task systems are provided that comprise multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) each comprising: a UAV control circuit; a motor; and a propulsion system coupled with the motor and configured to enable the respective UAVs to move themselves; and wherein a first UAV control circuit of a first UAV of the multiple UAVs is configured to access power level data corresponding to each of the multiple UAVs, and select a second UAV of the multiple UAVs based at least in part on a power level of the second UAV relative to a threshold power level corresponding to a first task to be performed and a predicted power usage by the second UAV while utilizing a first tool system temporarily cooperated with the second UAV in performing the first task.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 8, 2017
    Date of Patent: December 31, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Robert L. Cantrell, John P. Thompson, David C. Winkle, Michael D. Atchley, Donald R. High, Todd D. Mattingly, Brian G. McHale, John J. O'Brien, John F. Simon, Nathan G. Jones, Robert C. Taylor