Travelers has filed a patent for systems and methods that utilize autonomous vehicles, such as drones, to automatically capture data of a location and analyze it using Artificial Intelligence (AI) logic modules to estimate the amount of damage. The patent also includes a claim for a low-cost, GPS-denied drone programmed for autonomous hazardous area data collection. The drone is equipped with an imaging device, electronic processing unit, and memory device to perform tasks such as identifying landmarks, generating a 3-D map, and computing the drone’s location. GlobalData’s report on Travelers gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s company profile on Travelers, Digital lending was a key innovation area identified from patents. Travelers's grant share as of September 2023 was 55%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Autonomous drone for damage assessment and mapping

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: The Travelers Companies Inc

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230316930A1) describes a low-cost, GPS-denied drone designed for autonomous hazardous area data collection. The drone includes a propulsion device, an imaging device, an electronic processing unit, and a non-transitory memory device. The memory device stores instructions for various routines, including hazardous area data collection, AI image processing, three-dimensional mapping, and non-GPS locational computation. When executed by the electronic processing unit, these routines allow the drone to perform several tasks.

The drone starts by identifying known location data for its starting position and acquiring data descriptive of that location using the imaging device. It then uses AI image processing to identify the locations of landmarks in relation to its starting position and generates a three-dimensional map of the area. The drone can navigate throughout the area by activating its propulsion device, acquiring data at new locations, identifying new landmarks, updating the three-dimensional map, and computing its location based on the comparison of landmarks. This process is repeated until a triggering event is identified.

In addition to the basic functionalities, the drone can also include a wireless transmitter device for communication. If the drone identifies that a base station is not within transmission range, it can reposition itself closer to the base station using the updated three-dimensional map for navigation. The drone can then transmit data defining the updated map to the base station from the new location.

The patent also describes methods for operating the drone, which involve similar steps as the drone's functionalities. The methods include identifying known location data, acquiring data at the starting position, identifying landmarks, generating a three-dimensional map, navigating throughout the area, and repeating the process until a triggering event occurs. The methods also cover the repositioning of the drone and the transmission of data to the base station.

Overall, this patent describes a low-cost, GPS-denied drone that can autonomously collect data in hazardous areas. The drone utilizes imaging, AI image processing, three-dimensional mapping, and non-GPS locational computation to navigate and perform its tasks. The inclusion of a wireless transmitter device allows for communication with a base station, and the drone can reposition itself closer to the base station if necessary.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.