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: 20180370654
    Abstract: When a first laser beam and a second laser beam are directed to the volume of space, an aerial drone is configured to lock onto the first laser beam using a first sensor, and to utilize the first laser beam to guide the drone to an accurate landing at a landing site. The aerial drone is further configured to lock onto the second laser beam using a second sensor, to determine a relationship between the first laser beam and the second laser beam, and to utilize the relationship to adjust the tilt of the aerial drone, the orientation of the aerial drone, the speed differential between the aerial drone and the landing site, and/or the alignment of a portion of the drone with a portion of the landing site when making the landing.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 31, 2018
    Publication date: December 27, 2018
    Inventors: Robert L. Cantrell, Donald R. High, Brian G. McHale, David C. Winkle, Michael D. Atchley, John J. O'Brien, Nathan G. Jones
  • Publication number: 20180374336
    Abstract: Systems, apparatuses, and methods are provided herein for providing audio notification. A system for providing audio notification comprises a doorbell coupler configured to couple to a stationary doorbell device, and a control circuit coupled to the doorbell coupler. The control circuit being configured to receive a delivery notification from a delivery arrival detection system and cause the stationary doorbell device to produce an audible sound via the doorbell coupler.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 31, 2018
    Publication date: December 27, 2018
    Inventors: Michael D. Atchley, John P. Thompson, Robert C. Taylor
  • Publication number: 20180346299
    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: Application
    Filed: August 9, 2018
    Publication date: December 6, 2018
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, Brian G. McHale, Robert C. Taylor, David C. Winkle
  • Publication number: 20180346300
    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: Application
    Filed: August 9, 2018
    Publication date: December 6, 2018
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, David C. Winkle
  • Patent number: 10138062
    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: May 17, 2017
    Date of Patent: November 27, 2018
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley
  • Patent number: 10138100
    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: March 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: November 27, 2018
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: John P. Thompson, Michael D. Atchley, Donald R. High
  • Patent number: 10130232
    Abstract: System, apparatuses, and methods for bringing a shopping container to a customer in a shopping space are provided. A system for bringing a shopping container to a customer in a shopping space comprises a plurality of sensors, a plurality of motorized transport units, and a control circuit. The control circuit being configured to: receive a shopping container request from a user interface device associated with the customer, determine at least one available shopping container based on data collected by the plurality of sensors, the at least one available shopping container being empty and not used by another customer, select an available shopping container based at least on a location information of the user interface device, select a motorized transport unit to transport the available shopping container, and provide instructions to the motorized transport unit to bring the available shopping container to the customer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: November 20, 2018
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Michael D. Atchley, Donald R. High, David C. Winkle
  • Publication number: 20180327095
    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: Application
    Filed: July 16, 2018
    Publication date: November 15, 2018
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, John P. Thompson, Chandrashekar Natarajan
  • Patent number: 10126746
    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: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 2017
    Date of Patent: November 13, 2018
    Assignee: WALMART APOLLO, LLC
    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: 20180301030
    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: June 20, 2018
    Publication date: October 18, 2018
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Chandrashekar Natarajan, Michael D. Atchley, John P. Thompson, Brian G. McHale
  • Publication number: 20180282014
    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: Application
    Filed: March 30, 2018
    Publication date: October 4, 2018
    Inventors: Michael D. Atchley, Robert C. Taylor, John P. Thompson, Eric A. Letson
  • Publication number: 20180282139
    Abstract: Some embodiments include apparatuses providing control over movement of motorized transport units at a shopping 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 shopping 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: June 6, 2018
    Publication date: October 4, 2018
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, Karl Kay, David C. Winkle
  • Publication number: 20180281954
    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: Application
    Filed: March 30, 2018
    Publication date: October 4, 2018
    Inventors: Michael D. Atchley, John P. Thompson, Eric A. Letson, Robert C. Taylor, Nathan G. Jones
  • Patent number: 10089857
    Abstract: Systems, apparatuses, and methods are provided herein for providing audio notification. A system for providing audio notification comprises a communication device configured to communicate with a delivery arrival detection system, a doorbell coupler configured to couple to a stationary doorbell device, and a control circuit coupled to the communication device and the doorbell coupler. The control circuit being configured to receive a delivery notification from the delivery arrival detection system via the communication device and cause the stationary doorbell device to produce an audible sound via the doorbell coupler.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 6, 2017
    Date of Patent: October 2, 2018
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Michael D. Atchley, John P. Thompson, Robert C. Taylor
  • Publication number: 20180273292
    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: Application
    Filed: May 25, 2018
    Publication date: September 27, 2018
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley
  • Patent number: 10081525
    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: Grant
    Filed: September 23, 2016
    Date of Patent: September 25, 2018
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, David C. Winkle
  • Patent number: 10071891
    Abstract: Systems, apparatuses and methods for providing passenger transport are provided. A system for providing passenger transport includes a plurality of passenger carriers, a plurality of motorized transport units each configured to mechanically couple at least one of the plurality of passenger carriers, 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 customer, instruct a motorized transport unit to travel to a passenger carrier and couple to the passenger carrier, and instruct the motorized transport unit coupled to the passenger carrier to travel to the customer to provide transportation to the customer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: September 11, 2018
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Eric E. Welch, Michael D. Atchley, David C. Winkle
  • Patent number: 10071893
    Abstract: A central computer system identifies a mobile item container in a retail shopping facility as being abandoned. The central computer system then directs a motorized transport unit through the retail shopping facility to the abandoned mobile item container and causes that motorized transport unit to physically attach to the abandoned mobile item container. The central computer system then directs that motorized transport unit through the retail shopping facility with the attached abandoned mobile item container to a specified destination within the retail shopping facility. Abandonment can be determined as a function, at least in part, of determining that the mobile item container is both stationary and unattended for at least a predetermined amount of time. By one approach the central computer system can use different predetermined amounts of time when assessing abandonment depending upon where in the retail shopping facility the mobile item containers are located.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 23, 2016
    Date of Patent: September 11, 2018
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, David C. Winkle
  • Patent number: 10071892
    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: March 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: September 11, 2018
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, Brian G. McHale, Robert C. Taylor, David C. Winkle
  • Patent number: 10059451
    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 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: October 28, 2016
    Date of Patent: August 28, 2018
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, John P. Thompson, Chandrashekar Natarajan