Patents by Inventor Nathan G. Jones

Nathan G. Jones 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: 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: 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: 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
  • Patent number: 10301021
    Abstract: In some embodiments, systems, apparatuses and methods are provided to enhance delivery of packages and/or cargo through the use of unmanned delivery aircraft. In some embodiments, a mechanical package release system is provided that comprises: a package release hanger configured to couple with and suspend from an unmanned delivery aircraft; and one or more tension supports each configured to secure with a package and to releasably couple with the package release hanger wherein a decrease of at least a threshold amount of a force being applied by the weight of the package on the one or more tension supports induces a mechanical release of the coupling between the one or more tension supports and the package release hanger resulting in a release of the package from the unmanned delivery aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 21, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 28, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Nathan G. Jones, Gregory A. Hicks, Donald R. High
  • Patent number: 10301020
    Abstract: In some embodiments, systems, apparatuses and methods are provided to enhance delivery of packages. Some embodiments provide an unmanned delivery system comprising: a rotational drive shaft; a crane motor cooperated with the drive shaft that is rotated by the crane motor; a first crane system with a first cord fixed with the first crane system, wherein the first crane system is configured to cooperate with the drive shaft to control the first crane system in controlling the spooling and retraction of the first cord; a control circuit coupled with the crane motor; and a stop switch electrically coupled with the control circuit and positioned to be contacted by a package release hanger secured with the first cord when the first cord is retracted to a first threshold; wherein the control circuit is configured to stop the crane motor in response to receiving a signal from the stop switch.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 21, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 28, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Nathan G. Jones, Gregory A. Hicks, Donald R. High
  • Patent number: 10293938
    Abstract: In some embodiments, systems and methods are provided to enable package delivery and interaction with customers. Some embodiments comprise unmanned aircraft system (UAS), comprising: a crane system comprising a first spool system and a crane motor, the first spool system comprises a first cord that is extended and retracted; a retractable interface system cooperated with the first cord; a package holder configured to hold a first package to be delivered by the UAS at a delivery location; a control circuit coupled with the crane motor to control the crane motor, and to activate the crane motor to extend the first cord and lower the retractable interface system while the UAS is maintained in flight at least at a threshold height; wherein the retractable interface system comprises an input interface to receive input from a customer at the delivery location.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 2, 2017
    Date of Patent: May 21, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: John P. Thompson, Donald R. High, Nathan G. Jones, David C. Winkle, Brian G. McHale
  • 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: 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
  • 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
  • Publication number: 20190084674
    Abstract: In some embodiments, systems, apparatuses and methods are provided to enhance delivery of packages and/or cargo through the use of unmanned delivery aircraft. In some embodiments, a portable unmanned delivery aircraft launch system is provided that comprises: a first portable launch pad system comprising: a package deck; an unmanned delivery aircraft deck secured with the package deck and positioned above and separated by a distance from the package deck; and multiple modular coupling structures fixed with a frame enabling temporary rigid coupling and decoupling between the first launch pad system and multiple additional portable launch pad systems.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 15, 2018
    Publication date: March 21, 2019
    Inventors: Nathan G. Jones, Gregory A. Hicks, Donald R. High
  • Publication number: 20190070995
    Abstract: In some embodiments, methods and systems are provided that for transporting and deploying unmanned aerial vehicles. The unmanned aerial vehicles may be deployed from mobile stations that include receptacles each configured to retain an unmanned aerial vehicle. The receptacles may be independently movable into relative positions that permit multiple unmanned aerial vehicles to be deployed simultaneously from the mobile stations.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 30, 2018
    Publication date: March 7, 2019
    Inventors: Robert L. Cantrell, Donald R. High, Brian G. McHale, Nicholas R. Antel, Gregory A. Hicks, Nathan G. Jones, John J. O'Brien
  • Patent number: 10173774
    Abstract: In some embodiments, systems, apparatuses and methods are provided to enhance delivery of packages and/or cargo through the use of unmanned delivery aircraft. In some embodiments, a portable unmanned delivery aircraft launch system is provided that comprises: a first portable launch pad system comprising: a package deck; an unmanned delivery aircraft deck secured with the package deck and positioned above and separated by a distance from the package deck; and multiple modular coupling structures fixed with a frame enabling temporary rigid coupling and decoupling between the first launch pad system and multiple additional portable launch pad systems.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 21, 2016
    Date of Patent: January 8, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Nathan G. Jones, Gregory A. Hicks, Donald R. High
  • 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: 20180336751
    Abstract: In some embodiments, apparatuses and methods are provided herein useful to deliver autonomous retail lockers to docking stations. In some embodiments, there is provided a system for delivering autonomous retail lockers to docking stations including an unmanned ground vehicle comprising a UGV control circuit; a first autonomous retail locker of a plurality of autonomous retail lockers each comprising: a product storage area; a transport system; a beacon receiver; and a retail locker control circuit configured to control the transport system to follow a homing signal and transport the first autonomous retail locker to couple with a docking station based on the homing signal received from the docking station, wherein the UGV control circuit is configured to identify when the UGV is at least within a threshold of a way point, and trigger a release of the first autonomous retail locker.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 27, 2018
    Publication date: November 22, 2018
    Inventors: Bruce W. Wilkinson, Nathan G. Jones, Todd D. Mattingly
  • 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
  • Publication number: 20180129223
    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: September 19, 2017
    Publication date: May 10, 2018
    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: 20180082252
    Abstract: Partiality vectors for a particular customer and vectorized characterizations of a plurality of products are employed by a control circuit to select a particular one of the plurality of products to ship to a particular customer. By one approach this selected product is shipped without the particular customer having ordered this product. By one approach the aforementioned selection is based upon a prediction that the particular customer will keep the selected product upon receipt thereof based upon those partiality vectors and vectorized characterizations notwithstanding that it may not be known whether the particular customer has ever previously made a purchasing decision regarding this particular product. By one approach a customer can return a delivered product without being required to leave their delivery address, (re)seal the product/package, and/or attach a return label thereto.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 14, 2017
    Publication date: March 22, 2018
    Inventors: Bruce W. Wilkinson, Nathan G. Jones, Parvez Musani, Todd D. Mattingly, Brian G. McHale