A patent application by International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) hints that the technology giant could be considering developing a drone that functions as a pet-sitter and trainer. Thus, when pet owners are away from their homes, the drone could train, feed and stop cats, dogs and other pets from ruining the house.
“[IBM researchers] saw an opportunity to leverage their knowledge about systems and drones and apply that to the pet industry, which is a multi-billion dollar market in the U.S. alone,” said a spokesperson for IBM.
While traditional drones usually have an accessory such as a camera, the IBM drone would come with many more features than would ordinarily be the case. These features include sensors that do all sorts of things like detecting the kind of sound a pet is making in order to detect whether a pet is sick. The sensors could even take temperatures to determine whether a pet is feeling cold and needs to be kept warm.
Cameras on the drone would also be in a position to track the movement of pets and determine whether they are heading into a space where they are not permitted to be in. The cameras would also serve other purposes such as observing and determining whether an animal is behaving in a peculiar manner such as acting out by scratching at doors or panting excessively. The drone could then start a training activity such as launching a ball for the dog to fetch and distract it and thereby prevent it from causing destruction.
Carrot and stick
As part of the playtime activities words of encouragement could be offered by the drone to the pet. Alternatively, the pet could be rewarded with a treat that is contained in the drone’s onboard food dispensary. A calorie tracker would be one of the features of the food dispensary and this would ensure that the pet does not get overfed and only gobbles up what is necessary.
In case of misbehavior by the animal, the drone could send a verbal warning that will make the pet stop. The pet could also wear a collar that is connected to the internet and which can be used to manipulate behavior. It would also be possible for owners to spy on their pets through cameras on the drone that are connected to their mobile devices.
On Friday shares of IBM fell by 0.57% and closed at $173.83.