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).

  • Patent number: 10296005
    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: Grant
    Filed: September 6, 2017
    Date of Patent: May 21, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    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
  • Patent number: 10280054
    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: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 7, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    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: 10273001
    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: retrieve a task profile for a task assigned to 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 task profile and 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: Grant
    Filed: September 7, 2017
    Date of Patent: April 30, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    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
  • Patent number: 10275975
    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: Grant
    Filed: July 12, 2017
    Date of Patent: April 30, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Brian G. McHale, Michael D. Atchley
  • Patent number: 10274952
    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: September 8, 2017
    Date of Patent: April 30, 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
  • Publication number: 20190108751
    Abstract: Systems, apparatuses and methods are provided herein for monitoring a parking area. A system for monitoring a parking area comprises an image database storing a plurality of images of a parking lot taken by one or more satellites over time, a baseline database storing baseline models of a plurality of sections of the parking lot, and a control circuit coupled to the image database and the baseline database.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 11, 2018
    Publication date: April 11, 2019
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Chandrashekar Natarajan, Michael D. Atchley, John P. Thompson, Brian G. McHale
  • Patent number: 10254766
    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: Grant
    Filed: September 19, 2017
    Date of Patent: April 9, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    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
  • Patent number: 10246187
    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: Grant
    Filed: September 8, 2017
    Date of Patent: April 2, 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: 10239739
    Abstract: Some embodiments provide systems and methods to assist product stocking on a sales floor of a retail shopping facility. In some implementations, a system comprises a plurality of motorized transport units that are each configured to perform multiple different types of tasks at a retail shopping facility; and a central computer system configured to coordinate the plurality of motorized transport units in performing the multiple different tasks comprising instruct a motorized transport unit to retrieve a specified stocking cart that is carrying a plurality of products that are to be restocked onto product supports that are positioned on the sales floor where customers travel in shopping for products, and further instruct the motorized transport unit to autonomously transport the stocking cart to a specified stocking location on the sales floor corresponding to at least one of the plurality of products carried by the stocking cart.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: March 26, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, David C. Winkle
  • Patent number: 10239740
    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: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: March 26, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Brian G. McHale, David C. Winkle, Michael D. Atchley, Shuvro Chakrobartty, Donald R. High
  • Patent number: 10239616
    Abstract: Systems, apparatuses, and methods are provided herein for providing package release for an unmanned aerial system. An apparatus for releasing packages for retrieval by an unmanned aerial system comprises a plurality of arms configured to surround a plurality of packages stacked vertically in an extended position, a plurality of powered hinges at a base of each of the plurality of arms, and a control circuit coupled to the plurality of powered hinges. The control circuit being configured to: determine a height for a first lowered position for the plurality of arms at which the plurality of arms do not obstruct an unmanned aerial vehicle from coupling with a coupling structure on a first package of the plurality of packages positioned at a top of the plurality of packages, and cause the plurality of powered hinges to pivot the plurality of arms from the extended position to the first lowered position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 16, 2018
    Date of Patent: March 26, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, John P. Thompson, Chandrashekar Natarajan
  • Publication number: 20190084814
    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: November 14, 2018
    Publication date: March 21, 2019
    Inventors: John P. Thompson, Michael D. Atchley, Donald R. High
  • Patent number: 10235651
    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: Grant
    Filed: December 14, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 19, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: David C. Winkle, Robert C. Taylor, Todd D. Mattingly, Michael D. Atchley, Robert L. Cantrell, John J. O'Brien
  • Patent number: 10227178
    Abstract: Various systems, apparatuses, and methods are provided herein that are 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: Grant
    Filed: December 21, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 12, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    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: 10214400
    Abstract: In some embodiments, methods and systems of facilitating movement of product-containing pallets include at least one forklift unit configured to lift and move the product-containing pallets, at least one motorized transport unit configured to mechanically engage and disengage a respective forklift unit, and a central computer system in communication with the at least one motorized transport unit. The central computer system is configured to transmit at least one signal to the at least one motorized transport unit. The signal is configured to cause the at least one motorized transport unit to control the at least one forklift unit to move at least one of the product-containing pallets.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 25, 2018
    Date of Patent: February 26, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley
  • Publication number: 20190039829
    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: Application
    Filed: October 11, 2018
    Publication date: February 7, 2019
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley
  • Publication number: 20190034856
    Abstract: In some embodiments, apparatuses and methods are provided herein useful to enable delivery of commercial products via one or more modular autonomous vehicles. In some embodiments, the system may include databases and primary autonomous vehicles (PAVs). Each database can include information corresponding to commercial missions each defining delivery characteristic and commercial product characteristics of products scheduled for delivery to a delivery destination. Each PAV can include transceivers, storage areas (e.g., to store secondary autonomous vehicles (SAV), SAV components, and commercial objects), and control circuits. The control circuit(s) can be configured to assess commercial missions and select SAV components in accordance with assessed commercial missions. The control circuits can be configured to cause the selected SAV components to be affixed on the SAV.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 25, 2018
    Publication date: January 31, 2019
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Todd D. Mattingly, David C. Winkle, Michael D. Atchley, Brian G. McHale, Nicholas R. Antel, John J. O'Brien
  • Patent number: 10186152
    Abstract: Systems, apparatuses and methods are provided herein for monitoring a parking area. A system for monitoring a parking area comprises an image database storing a plurality of images of a parking lot taken by one or more satellites over time, a baseline database storing baseline models of a plurality of sections of the parking lot, and a control circuit coupled to the image database and the baseline database.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 20, 2018
    Date of Patent: January 22, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Chandrashekar Natarajan, Michael D. Atchley, John P. Thompson, Brian G. McHale
  • Publication number: 20190011919
    Abstract: In some embodiments, apparatuses and methods are provided herein useful to selecting tools and drones for completing a task. In some embodiments, the system comprises an autonomous vehicle configured to transport the tools and the drones including a plurality of sensors configured to detect properties of the tools and the drones, the drones, the tools, and a control circuit configured to receive, from the sensors, indications of the properties of the tools and the drones, select, based on the service requests and the indications of the properties of the tools and the drones, at least one of the tools and at least one of the drones to perform at least one of the service requests, cause the at least one of the drones to be equipped with the at least one of the tools, and transmit instructions that are based on the at least one of the service requests.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 13, 2018
    Publication date: January 10, 2019
    Inventors: John J. O'Brien, David C. Winkle, Michael D. Atchley, Nicholas Ray Antel, Donald R. High, Brian G. McHale, Todd D. Mattingly
  • Publication number: 20190002256
    Abstract: Some embodiments provide methods, systems and apparatus to enhance safety. In some embodiments, a system comprises: a central computer system comprising: a transceiver; a control circuit; and 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: communicate positioning routing instructions to the plurality of motorized transport units directing the motorized transport units to one or more external areas of a shopping facility that are exposed to weather conditions; and communicate separate area routing instructions to each of the motorized transport units that when implemented cause the motorized transport units to cooperatively and in concert travel in accordance with the area routing instructions over at least predefined portions of one or more external areas to cause ground treatment systems to address ground level conditions.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 22, 2018
    Publication date: January 3, 2019
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, David C. Winkle