From dog nanny drones to hands-free umbrellas: Ford employees have been dreaming up drones of the future

Rebecca Smith
No time to walk your dog? Perhaps a drone could do it for you...
No time to walk your dog? Perhaps a drone could do it for you... (Source: Ford)

It's not just Amazon that's been thinking up possible future uses for the drones of tomorrow.

Indeed, forget parachuting drone deliveries: Ford employees have thought up everything from hands-free umbrellas to a dog nanny drone.

Employees were asked to think up ideas for how they would make it easier to get around the "city of tomorrow". So Ford designer Itzel Cortes designed a concept drone that would take your dog for a walk, relay orders and encouragement - and, perhaps most importantly, pick up after them.

Read more: New Land Rover Discovery has a roof-mounted drone to help Red Cross rescues

"I love my Dachshund Liuba but I’m not able to take her for a walk as often as I would like," Cortes said. "'Dog Nanny' would mean she could go out when she wanted and I could still make sure she was okay, watch her and talk to her,” she said.

Using a smartphone app and a smart collar to connect you to your dog, the system would know when it's time to return home and note whether your pet has eaten.

Other drone concepts dreamed up by Ford employees included a "stay dry drone" that hovers a hands-free umbrella above the user, and a "smart guide dog" that could help the partially sighted and blind get around more easily, by monitoring what's ahead and providing instructions through an earpiece.

Here are some of the concept drones:

(Source: All pictures by Ford)

The car giant has been aiming to put itself in pole position for innovation, recently opening a new hub specifically to offer employees dedicated workshops, patent consultation and anonymous access to research.

Last year, Ford workers submitted plans for more than 8,000 inventions - nearly double the number submitted in 2014.

Read more: Ready for take off? MPs are probing the potential of commercial drones

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