Walmart, the giant US supermarket chain, has developed new blockchain technology innovations that could significantly improve the company's order delivery system. Walmart's new patent, filed as "Blockchain-based drones", describes a secure and efficient communication system for synchronization between the company's shipment drones.
Amazon and Walmart, two serious competitors in online commerce, have made the development and commercialization of drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) as their top research priorities in recent years. Both are among top patent applicants in 2018, with Walmart having 56 applications compared with 54 applications from Amazon. Walmart's new patent, which aims to improve mass interconnections of order delivery drones, has one major difference with other company's patents on drones, which is the use of blockchain technology.
The patent was filed in the US Patent and Trademark Office in January 2019 and was recently published as US20190238338. As stated in the patent documents, blockchain technology is used to transmit information such as drone identification number, flight altitude, flight speed and route, information related to the UAV battery and its load capacity. This information can be shared between groups of drones based on the location of each drone. Effective synchronization and communication between drones is one of the key advantages of this innovative system, which reduces the risk of disclosure or loss of information parameters by encrypting data.
The patent was issued in conjunction with another Walmart patent application on "Walmart Digital Coin", indicating that the company is investing heavily in the development and commercialization of various blockchain technology applications. Walmart is now looking for its exclusive digital currency in the US market, following many well-known companies, such as Nike and Facebook, which are trying to develop their own proprietary digital currency.