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: 20190227554
    Abstract: Systems, apparatuses, and methods are provided herein for field monitoring. A system for field monitoring comprises a plurality of types of sensor modules, an unmanned vehicle comprising a sensor system, and a control circuit configured to: receive onboard sensor data from the sensor system of the unmanned vehicle, detect an alert condition at a monitored area based on the onboard sensor data, select one or more types of sensor modules from the plurality of types of sensor modules to deploy at the monitored area based on the onboard sensor data, and cause the unmanned vehicle and/or one or more other unmanned vehicles to transport one or more sensor modules of the one or more types of sensor modules to the monitored area and deploy the one or more sensor modules by detaching from the one or more sensor modules at the monitored area.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 2, 2019
    Publication date: July 25, 2019
    Inventors: Robert L. Cantrell, John P. Thompson, David C. Winkle, Michael D. Atchley, Donald R. High, Todd D. Mattingly, John J. O'Brien, John F. Simon, Nathan G. Jones, Robert C. Taylor
  • Publication number: 20190227542
    Abstract: In some embodiments, unmanned task systems are provided that comprise multiple unmanned vehicles each comprising: a control circuit; a motor; and a propulsion system coupled with the motor and configured to enable the respective unmanned vehicles to move themselves; and wherein a first control circuit of a first unmanned vehicle of the multiple unmanned vehicles is configured to identify a second unmanned vehicle carrying a first tool system configured to perform a first function, cause a notification to be communicated to the second unmanned vehicle directing the second unmanned vehicle to transfer the first tool system to the first unmanned vehicle, and direct a first propulsion system of the first unmanned vehicle to couple with the first tool system being transferred from the second unmanned vehicle.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 2, 2019
    Publication date: July 25, 2019
    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
  • Publication number: 20190227541
    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: Application
    Filed: April 2, 2019
    Publication date: July 25, 2019
    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: 10358326
    Abstract: A plurality of lockers can each serve to contain items that have been ordered by a customer. By one approach these lockers are stored in a locker storage facility. By one approach these lockers are configured such that a motorized transport unit can physically engage the locker in order to move the locker. So configured, a central computer system can be configured to select a particular motorized transport unit to retrieve a particular locker that has been previously associated with a particular entity (such as a particular customer or their designated agent) and to make that locker available to that particular entity such that the latter can retrieve their item or items from that locker.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 23, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Michael D. Atchley, Donald R. High, David C. Winkle
  • Patent number: 10360533
    Abstract: A product display surface supports at least one product being offered for sale thereon. This product display surface has a weight-sensitive RFID tag associated therewith. This tag has at least one transmission element that moves with respect to a remaining portion of the tag as a function of weight being supported by the product display surface. So configured, the weight-sensitive RFID tag transmits at a first level when there are no products (or only a few products) on the product display surface and at a second level when there are at least a predetermined number of products on the product display surface, the first transmission level being less than the second transmission level. An RFID-tag reader reads the weight-sensitive RFID tag and a control circuit determines when the first product display surface lacks sufficient displayed inventory as a function, at least in part, of the weight-sensitive RFID tag's transmission strength.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 30, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 23, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Michael D. Atchley, John P. Thompson
  • Patent number: 10360528
    Abstract: In some embodiments, apparatuses, systems and methods are provided herein useful to assist in unloading products. Some embodiments provide a product unloading assistance system, comprising: a control circuit; a graphical display; a camera; and a memory with the control circuit performing the steps of: receive an image from the camera comprising at least a portion of a product delivery vehicle and one or more reference points on the delivery vehicle; obtain an identifier of a load in the delivery vehicle to be unloaded; and cause the graphical display to display, in accordance with an orientation of the camera relative to the delivery vehicle based on the one or more reference points, 3D graphical representations of multiple different packaged products as loaded into the delivery vehicle and their orientation relative to each other as they are positioned within the delivery vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 3, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 23, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, David C. Winkle, Michael D. Atchley
  • Publication number: 20190218081
    Abstract: System, method, and apparatus for providing transport are provided. A system for providing passenger transport, comprises a plurality of motorized transport units each comprising a coupler for mechanically coupling to a passenger carrier, and a central computer system communicatively coupled to the plurality of motorized transport units. The central computer system being configured to: receive a ride request from a user, select a motorized transport unit from the plurality of motorized transport units, instruct the motorized transport unit to travel to couple to a passenger carrier associated from the user, determine a route based on user route preference, and instruct the motorized transport unit coupled to the passenger carrier to transport the user based on the route.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 20, 2019
    Publication date: July 18, 2019
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, David C. Winkle, Robert C. Taylor, Eric E. Welch
  • Patent number: 10351400
    Abstract: Methods and apparatuses are provided, some apparatuses comprise: a location controller separate from a motorized transport unit, comprising: a transceiver configured to receive communications from the motorized transport unit; a control circuit; a memory storing computer instructions that when executed by the control circuit cause the control circuit to perform the steps of: obtain, from the communications, a unique light source identifier of a light source detected by the motorized transport unit, and relative distance information determined by the motorized transport unit through an optical measurement; process the at least one unique light source identifier and the relative distance information relative to a mapping of the shopping facility; and determine, in response to the processing, a location of the motorized transport unit within the shopping facility as a function of the at least one unique light source identifier and the relative distance information.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 9, 2018
    Date of Patent: July 16, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, Brian G. McHale, Robert C. Taylor, David C. Winkle
  • Publication number: 20190210725
    Abstract: Systems, apparatuses, and methods are provided herein for unmanned flight optimization. A system for unmanned flight comprises a set of motors configured to provide locomotion to an unmanned aerial vehicle, a set of wings coupled to a body of the unmanned aerial vehicle via an actuator and configured to move relative to the body of the unmanned aerial vehicle, a sensor system on the unmanned aerial vehicle, and a control circuit. The control circuit being configured to: control the unmanned aerial vehicle, cause the set of motors to lift the unmanned aerial vehicle, detect condition parameters based on the sensor system, determine a position for the set of wings based on the condition parameters, and cause the actuator to move the set of wings to the wing position while the unmanned aerial vehicle is in flight.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 13, 2019
    Publication date: July 11, 2019
    Inventors: Robert L. Cantrell, John P. Thompson, David C. Winkle, Michael D. Atchley, Donald R. High, Todd D. Mattingly, John J. O'Brien, John F. Simon
  • Publication number: 20190213703
    Abstract: In some embodiments, apparatuses and methods are provided herein useful to identifying and evaluating an unidentified autonomous vehicle (AV) during a retail product delivery. In some embodiments, there is provided a system for identifying and evaluating an unidentified AV including a first identified AV configured to transport one or more retail products comprising: a plurality of sensors configured to provide sensor data used to determine patterns of movement of AVs over a time period; and an AV control circuit configured to: receive the sensor data; determine one or more patterns of movement of an unidentified AV based on the sensor data; determine whether the one or more patterns of movement of the unidentified AV is inconsistent with one or more sets of expected patterns of movement of the plurality of identified AVs; and identify that the unidentified AV is not associated with a retail store.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 9, 2019
    Publication date: July 11, 2019
    Inventors: David C. Winkle, Nathan G. Jones, Michael D. Atchley
  • Publication number: 20190210849
    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: July 11, 2019
    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
  • Publication number: 20190206175
    Abstract: Systems, apparatuses, and methods are provided herein for mobile vending. A system for mobile vending comprises a mobile vending machine comprising: an item dispenser configured to display a plurality of items for purchase, a set of motorized wheels, a navigation sensor device, a communication device, and, a control circuit configured to navigate the mobile vending machine based on navigation instructions; and a central computer system configured to communicate with the mobile vending machine via the communication device, the central computer system being configured to: determine a destination for the mobile vending machine, provide the navigation instructions to the mobile vending machine to cause the mobile vending machine to travel to the destination using the set of motorized wheels and the navigation sensor device.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 13, 2019
    Publication date: July 4, 2019
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Brian G. McHale, Michael D. Atchley
  • Patent number: 10336592
    Abstract: A central computer system directs a motorized transport unit through a retail shopping facility to a particular mobile item container having at least one item disposed therein, that item being designated for return to a particular department within the retail shopping facility such that this item can then again be presented for sale. After causing that motorized transport unit to physically attach to this mobile item container, the central computer system then directs that motorized transport unit through the retail shopping facility with the attached particular mobile item container to the one or more departments to which the item or items are to be so returned.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 23, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 2, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Michael D. Atchley, David C. Winkle, Donald R. High
  • Publication number: 20190193853
    Abstract: In some embodiments, unmanned aerial task systems are provided that include a plurality of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) each comprising: a UAV control circuit; a motor; propulsion system; and a universal coupler configured to interchangeably couple with and decouple from one of multiple different tool systems each having different functions to be put into use while carried by a UAV, wherein a coupling system of the universal coupler is configured to secure a tool system with the UAV and enable a communication connection between a communication bus and the tool system, and wherein the multiple different tool systems comprise at least a package securing tool system configured to retain and enable transport of a package while being delivered, and a sensor tool system configured to sense a condition and communicate sensor data of the sensed condition to the UAV control circuit over the communication bus.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 28, 2019
    Publication date: June 27, 2019
    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
  • Publication number: 20190196506
    Abstract: Some embodiments include systems, methods, and apparatuses capable of determining a leader of a group of autonomous vehicles. In some embodiments, a system of autonomous vehicles comprises two or more autonomous vehicles each having a communication device and in communication with one another, each of the two or more autonomous vehicles configured to travel as a group, receive and transport goods, communicate with others of the two or more autonomous vehicles in the group, and conduct a negotiation to establish at least one leader, wherein any one of the two or more autonomous vehicles can become the at least one leader.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 28, 2019
    Publication date: June 27, 2019
    Inventors: Donald R. High, David C. Winkle, Michael D. Atchley, Brian G. McHale, Nicholas Ray Antel, John J. O'Brien, Todd D. Mattingly, Nathan G. Jones
  • Publication number: 20190185302
    Abstract: A shopping facility assistance system includes a plurality of motorized transport units, a plurality of user interface units, and a central computer system having a network interface such that the central computer system wirelessly communicates with one or both of the motorized transport units and the user interface units. The central computer system is configured to control movement of the motorized transport units through a shopping facility space based at least on inputs from the user interface units. More particularly, the central computer system controls movement of the motorized transport units such that a given one of the plurality of motorized transport units selectively leads a user to a destination within the shopping facility or follows the user within the shopping facility as determined by the central computer system. By one approach, the motorized transport units move through the shopping facility via a plurality of preferred pre-determined path segments.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 22, 2019
    Publication date: June 20, 2019
    Inventors: Brian G. McHale, David C. Winkle, Michael D. Atchley, Shuvro Chakrobartty, Donald R. High
  • Patent number: 10315897
    Abstract: Systems, apparatuses, and methods for determining item availability are provided. A computer implemented method for determining item availability in a shopping space comprising: receiving a request for an item for purchase from a customer, querying an inventory database to determine whether the item for purchase is in stock, in an event that the item for purchase is not in stock according to the inventory database: determining an out of stock response to present to the customer, in an event that the item for purchase is in stock according the inventory database: instructing a motorized transport unit to travel to a display space in the shopping space corresponding to the item for the purchase, determining whether the item is available in the display space based on information captured by one or more sensors of the motorized transport unit, and in an event that the item for purchase is not available in the display space: determining an item unavailable response to present to the customer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 7, 2016
    Date of Patent: June 11, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, David C. Winkle
  • Publication number: 20190168966
    Abstract: Generally speaking, pursuant to various embodiments, systems, apparatuses, and methods are provided herein useful for autonomously delivering lockers. In some embodiments, a system comprises a carrier vehicle, the carrier vehicle comprising a storage area, a docking station including a plurality of storage docks, each of the plurality of storage docks configured to secure at least one locker, wherein the docking station is located within the storage area, and a retrieval point, a plurality of lockers each configured to house at least one product, a delivery vehicle, the delivery vehicle comprising a delivery dock, wherein the delivery dock is configured to receive, at the retrieval point, at least one locker, and a propulsion mechanism, wherein the propulsion mechanism propels the delivery vehicle, and a control circuit, the control circuit configured to identify, from the plurality of lockers, a selected locker, and cause the selected locker to move to the retrieval point.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 1, 2019
    Publication date: June 6, 2019
    Inventors: Donald R. High, David C. Winkle, Michael D. Atchley, Brian G. McHale, Nicholas Ray Antel, John J. O'Brien, Todd D. Mattingly, Bruce W. Wilkinson
  • Patent number: 10305576
    Abstract: Autonomous vehicles such as UAVs or cars provide network access points. User devices connect to the network access points and network access is monitored. User location data is also monitored. A profile of the user is generated from the gathered data. Advertisements are selected based on a profile of the user and the current location of the user. The autonomous vehicles may be distributed geographically to provide a network access to a geographic area. In response to detecting that a user device is moving out of a coverage area of an autonomous vehicle, nearby autonomous vehicles are identified. If the user device is in the coverage area of a nearby autonomous vehicle, the network connection to the user device is transferred to that vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 12, 2017
    Date of Patent: May 28, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, John J. O'Brien
  • Publication number: 20190156282
    Abstract: Apparatuses and methods are provided herein useful for receiving and storing delivered items. In some embodiments, a secured delivery locker is described herein that can communicate with delivery vehicles and/or users. In several embodiments, an autonomous delivery vehicle can communicate with a secured delivery locker to authenticate itself. The secured delivery locker can then grant access to the delivery vehicle, such as by opening a door to an interior thereof, so that the delivery vehicle can deposit a package therein. The locker can then confirm receipt of the package and close the door. Thereafter, the locker and/or the delivery vehicle can update a system to indicate that the package was delivered.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 28, 2019
    Publication date: May 23, 2019
    Inventors: David C. Winkle, Robert C. Taylor, Todd D. Mattingly, Michael D. Atchley, Robert L. Cantrell, John J. O'Brien