Búsqueda Imágenes Maps Play YouTube Noticias Gmail Drive Más »
Iniciar sesión
Usuarios de lectores de pantalla: deben hacer clic en este enlace para utilizar el modo de accesibilidad. Este modo tiene las mismas funciones esenciales pero funciona mejor con el lector.

Patentes

  1. Búsqueda avanzada de patentes
Número de publicaciónUS20060026047 A1
Tipo de publicaciónSolicitud
Número de solicitudUS 11/235,998
Fecha de publicación2 Feb 2006
Fecha de presentación27 Sep 2005
Fecha de prioridad1 Mar 2000
También publicado comoEP1266326A1, EP1266326A4, US6975998, WO2001065451A1
Número de publicación11235998, 235998, US 2006/0026047 A1, US 2006/026047 A1, US 20060026047 A1, US 20060026047A1, US 2006026047 A1, US 2006026047A1, US-A1-20060026047, US-A1-2006026047, US2006/0026047A1, US2006/026047A1, US20060026047 A1, US20060026047A1, US2006026047 A1, US2006026047A1
InventoresMartin Jones
Cesionario originalJones Martin K
Exportar citaBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Enlaces externos: USPTO, Cesión de USPTO, Espacenet
Package delivery notification system and method
US 20060026047 A1
Resumen
A package delivery notification system reports impending package deliveries and precisely notifies recipients of when to expect the deliveries. The package delivery notification system utilizes memory, a communications device, and a system manager. Package data identifying a package that is to be delivered to a recipient is stored in the memory. The package data indicates that the recipient is to receive the package and indicates the expected time that the package is to be delivered. When the package is assigned to a vehicle that will deliver the package to a premises of the recipient, the system manager transmits, via the communications device, a notification message to the recipient. The notification message preferably indicates the approximate time that the package is expected to arrive.
Imágenes(4)
Previous page
Next page
Reclamaciones(24)
1. A system for reporting impending vehicle deliveries, comprising:
memory storing package data identifying a plurality of packages that are to be respectively delivered to a plurality of recipients;
a first communications device configured to establish communication with remote communications devices; and
a system manager configured to detect when one of said packages has been assigned to a vehicle for delivery to one of said recipients, said system manager further configured to transmit a notification message for a respective one of said recipients via said first communications device at a time after a detection that said one of said packages for said one of said recipients has been assigned to said vehicle is determined.
2. The system of claim 1, further comprising:
a scanner configured to scan a label of said package and to identify said one package based on said label, wherein said system manager detects that said package has been assigned to said vehicle based on whether said scanner has identified said one package.
3. The system of claim 1, wherein said notification message is an e-mail message.
4. The system of claim 1, wherein said package data indicates whether said one package has been assigned to said vehicle and said system detects when said one package has been assigned to said vehicle by analyzing said package data.
5. The system of claim 1, wherein said notification message identifies a sender of said one package.
6. The system of claim 1, wherein said package data indicates that said packages are to be delivered by said vehicle and indicates an order that said vehicle is expected to deliver said packages, and wherein said system manager is further configured to determine, based on said order, that said one package is expected to be delivered during a particular time period, said notification message indicating that said one package is expected to be delivered during said particular time period.
7. The system of claim 1, wherein said system manager is further configured to determine when said vehicle is within a predefined proximity of a premises of said one recipient based on signals transmitted from said vehicle, said system manager further configured to transmit a second notification message when said vehicle is within said predefined proximity.
8. A method for reporting impending vehicle deliveries, comprising the steps of:
receiving a package for delivery to a premises of a recipient;
assigning said package to a vehicle;
detecting when said package is assigned to said vehicle;
producing a notification message based upon said detecting step; said notification message indicating a time period in which said package is expected to be delivered at said premises;
transmitting said notification message to a recipient communication device; and
transporting said package to said premises via said vehicle.
9. The method of claim 8, further comprising the step of scanning a label of said package, wherein said detecting step further includes the step of detecting said scanning step.
10. The method of claim 8, further comprising the steps of:
storing data indicating whether said package is assigned to a vehicle;
analyzing said data; and
performing said detecting step based on said analyzing step.
11. The method of claim 8, wherein said notification message is an e-mail message.
12. The method of claim 8, further comprising the steps of:
determining when said vehicle is within a predetermined proximity of said premises; and
transmitting a second notification message in response to said determining step.
13. The method of claim 8, further comprising the step of indicating, via said notification message, a sender of said package.
14. The method of claim 8, further comprising the step of indicating, via said notification message, a weight of said package.
15. The method of claim 8, further comprising the steps of:
maintaining a web page;
receiving contact information via said web page; and
utilizing said contact information to perform said transmitting step.
16. A system for reporting impending vehicle deliveries, comprising:
means for receiving a package for delivery to a premises of a recipient;
means for assigning said package to a vehicle;
means for detecting when said package is assigned to said vehicle;
means for producing a notification message at a time after said package is detected, said notification message indicating a time period in which said package is expected to be delivered at said premises;
means for transmitting said notification message to a recipient communications device; and
means for transporting said package to said premises via said vehicle.
17. The system of claim 16, further comprising:
means for scanning a label of said package and identifying said package based on said label, wherein said means for detecting detects that said package has been assigned to said vehicle based on whether said means for scanning has identified said package.
18. The system of claim 16, further comprising: means for storing data indicating whether said package is assigned to a vehicle; and
means for analyzing said data, wherein a detection of said package being assigned to said vehicle is based on an analysis of said data.
19. The system of claim 16, wherein said notification message is an e-mail message.
20. The system of claim 16, further comprising:
means for determining when said vehicle is within a predetermined proximity of said premises; and
means for transmitting a second notification message at a time after said vehicle is determined to be within said predefined proximity.
21. The system of claim 16, further comprising:
means for indicating, via said notification message, a sender of said package.
22. The system of claim 16, further comprising:
means for indicating, via said notification message, a weight of said package.
23. The system of claim 16, further comprising:
means for maintaining a web page;
means for receiving contact information via said web page; and
means for utilizing said contact information to perform said transmitting step.
24. The system of claim 7, wherein said first and second notification messages are transmitted to a recipient remote communications device of said one recipient.
Descripción
    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • [0001]
    This application is a continuation of copending U.S. utility application entitled, “Package Delivery Notification System and Method,” having Ser. No. 09/516,288, filed Mar. 1, 2000.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0003]
    The present invention generally relates to delivery information systems and, in particular, to a package delivery notification system and method for reporting when a vehicle is expected to deliver a package.
  • [0004]
    2. Related Art
  • [0005]
    In providing package delivery services, a recipient of a package is not always aware when a package is being sent to the recipient. In this regard, a sender does not always inform the recipient when sending a package to the recipient via a package delivery service. Furthermore, the operator of the package delivery service usually does not provide the recipient with advanced notice of the package. Therefore, the recipient is often not aware that a package has been sent to the recipient until the package is actually delivered to the recipient.
  • [0006]
    In some situations, the sender may notify the recipient that the sender is sending a package to the recipient. However, the sender may not know or may not provide to the recipient an approximate date on which the package should arrive. Therefore, the recipient is aware that a package has been sent but is not aware of when the package should arrive.
  • [0007]
    In other situations, the sender may send a package to a recipient via a package delivery service that guarantees that the package will arrive at the premises of the recipient on a particular date. Sometimes the delivery service guarantees that the package will arrive at the recipient's premises before a particular time (e.g., before noon), as well. This information may be communicated to the recipient by the sender so that the recipient is aware of when (i.e., the date and sometimes the approximate time period) to expect the package.
  • [0008]
    However, the recipient is not usually aware of the precise time that the package will be delivered. For example, when a package is guaranteed to be delivered before noon on a particular day, the package may arrive at any time before noon (e.g., between approximately 8:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.), depending on the route and number of stops made by the delivery vehicle in delivering the package and other packages. Adding to the difficulty of estimating when a package may arrive, the route and number of stops made by the same delivery vehicle often changes from day-to-day, depending on the destinations of each of the packages delivered by the delivery vehicle.
  • [0009]
    In addition, in some cases, the delivery service may fail to meet its guarantee and may deliver the package after the specified time period. The delivery service often does not contact the recipient when the package does not arrive on time, and the recipient, therefore, is usually not aware of the failure in delivery until the specified time period has expired.
  • [0010]
    Furthermore, it is also possible for the delivery service to deliver the package before its guaranteed delivery time and/or date. For example, a package sent via a two day delivery service may actually arrive at the package's destination a day early. In such a situation, the recipient may not be available to receive the package, since the recipient may not be expecting the package until the next day. As a result, the recipient does not receive the package at the earliest possible time, and/or the package may be left unattended at the recipient's premises until discovered by the recipient.
  • [0011]
    Thus, a heretofore unaddressed need exists in the industry for providing a delivery system and method of reporting package deliveries and of more precisely notifying a recipient of when to expect delivery of a package.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0012]
    The present invention overcomes the inadequacies and deficiencies of the prior art as discussed hereinbefore. Generally, the present invention provides a package delivery notification system and method for reporting impending package deliveries and for precisely notifying a recipient of when to expect delivery of a package.
  • [0013]
    In architecture, the package delivery notification system of the present invention utilizes memory, a communications device, and a system manager. Package data identifying a package that is to be delivered to a recipient is stored in the memory. The package data indicates that the recipient is to receive the package and indicates the expected time that the package is to be delivered. When the package is assigned to a vehicle that will deliver the package to a premises of the recipient, the system manager transmits, via the communications device, a notification message to the recipient. The notification message preferably indicates the approximate time that the package is expected to arrive.
  • [0014]
    In accordance with another feature of the present invention, the package data indicates the order in which deliver vehicle is to deliver a plurality of packages assigned to it. The system manager can precisely determine the time period that each package is to be delivered based on the order of delivery. Therefore, the time period indicated by the notification message is more precise and accurate.
  • [0015]
    The present invention can also be viewed as providing a method for reporting vehicle deliveries. The method can be broadly conceptualized by the following steps: receiving a plurality of packages; assigning each of the packages to a vehicle; determining an order that the vehicle is to deliver the packages; determining, based on the order, a first time period that the vehicle is expected to deliver one of the packages to a recipient; causing a notification message to be transmitted to the recipient based on the determining a first time period step; indicating the first time period via the notification message; simultaneously transporting each of the packages via the vehicle; and transporting the one package to a premises of the recipient via the vehicle.
  • [0016]
    Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to one skilled in the art upon examination of the following detailed description, when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. It is intended that all such features and advantages be included herein within the scope of the present invention and protected by the claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0017]
    The invention can be better understood with reference to the following drawings. The elements of the drawings are not necessarily to scale relative to each other, emphasis instead being placed upon clearly illustrating the principles of the invention. Furthermore, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the several views.
  • [0018]
    FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating a package delivery notification system in accordance with the present invention.
  • [0019]
    FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating a computer system implementing a base station depicted in FIG. 1.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 3 is a flow chart illustrating the architecture and functionality of a system manager depicted in FIG. 2.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • [0021]
    FIG. 1 depicts a package delivery notification system 10 in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the present invention. In general, the present invention includes a base station 15 that transmits a notification message to a recipient communications device 18 at a recipient's premises 21 the day that a recipient at premises 21 is to receive a package 25. The message is preferably transmitted after the package 25 is assigned to a particular delivery vehicle 27, which delivers the package 25 to premises 21, and the message preferably includes a precise time period in which the package 25 is expected to be delivered at premises 21.
  • [0022]
    The operation of the base station 15 is preferably controlled by a system manager, which can be implemented in software, hardware, or a combination thereof. In the preferred embodiment, as illustrated by way of example in FIG. 2, the system manager 30 of the present invention along with its associated methodology is implemented in software and stored in computer memory 32 of a computer system 34 along with a vehicle schedule 37, which will be described in more detail hereinafter.
  • [0023]
    Note that the system manager 30, when implemented in software, can be stored and transported on any computer-readable medium for use by or in connection with an instruction execution system, apparatus, or device, such as a computer-based system, processor-containing system, or other system that can fetch the instructions from the instruction execution system, apparatus, or device and execute the instructions. In the context of this document, a “computer-readable medium” can be any means that can contain, store, communicate, propagate, or transport the program for use by or in connection with the instruction execution system, apparatus, or device. The computer readable medium can be, for example but not limited to, an electronic, magnetic, optical, electromagnetic, infrared, or semiconductor system, apparatus, device, or propagation medium. More specific examples (a nonexhaustive list) of the computer-readable medium would include the following: an electrical connection (electronic) having one or more wires, a portable computer diskette (magnetic), a random access memory (RAM) (magnetic), a read-only memory (ROM) (magnetic), an erasable programmable read-only memory (EPROM or Flash memory) (magnetic), an optical fiber (optical), and a portable compact disc read-only memory (CDROM) (optical). Note that the computer-readable medium could even be paper or another suitable medium upon which the program is printed, as the program can be electronically captured, via for instance optical scanning of the paper or other medium, then compiled, interpreted or otherwise processed in a suitable manner if necessary, and then stored in a computer memory. As an example, the system manager 30 may be magnetically stored and transported on a conventional portable computer diskette.
  • [0024]
    The preferred embodiment of the computer system 34 of FIG. 2 comprises one or more conventional processing elements 38, such as a digital signal processor (DSP), that communicate to and drive the other elements within the system 34 via a local interface 41, which can include one or more buses. Furthermore, an input device 44, for example, a keyboard or a mouse, can be used to input data from a user of the system 34, and an output device 47, such as a display screen or a printer, can be used to output data to the user. A disk storage mechanism 52 can be connected to the local interface 41 to transfer data to and from a nonvolatile disk (e.g., magnetic, optical, etc.). The system 34 can be connected to a network interface 55 that allows the system 34 to exchange data with a network 58.
  • [0025]
    The system 34 also includes a base station communications device 61 that may be used to transmit notification messages to the recipient communications device 18 (FIG. 1). As shown by FIG. 1, the notification messages may be transmitted via a network 63, such as the publicly switched telephone network (PSTN) or Internet, for example, to recipient communications device 18. Base station communications device 61 may be a telephone so that the notification message may be transmitted via a telephone call or a page. Alternatively, the communications device 61 may be a modem capable of transmitting the notification message as an e-mail message or other type of modem transmitted message. Other types of devices in other embodiments may be suitable for implementing the base station communications device 61. The recipient communications device 18, similar to the base station communications device 61, may be implemented via different types of devices, depending on the type of communication used to communicate the notification message.
  • [0026]
    The system 34 (FIG. 2) also includes a database 65. The database 65 may have a plurality of entries, wherein each entry includes data associated with a particular package 25 that is to be delivered to a particular premises 21. Each entry preferably includes sufficient data to identify the package 25 associated with the entry, as well as the premises 21 that the package 25 is to be delivered. As an example, the entry associated with a particular package 25 may include a package identifier, which has a value unique to the package 25. The entry may also include data to identify the premises 21 at which the package 25 is to be delivered. For example, the entry may include data defining the address of the premises 21. The entry may also include other data pertinent to the delivery of the package 25. As an example, the entry may include data defining the sender's name and/or address, data defining billing information, data defining the recipient's name, data defining the weight of the package 25, etc.
  • [0027]
    At some point, the package 25 should be assigned to a particular vehicle 27, which is to deliver the package 25 to the premises 21. Other packages 25 may also be assigned to the same vehicle 27 to deliver the other packages 25 at other premises 21. A vehicle schedule 37 (FIG. 2), defining which packages 25 have been assigned to the vehicle 27 for delivery during the same delivery period (e.g., during the same day), is preferably created and stored in memory 32, although the vehicle schedule 37 may be stored in another location, such as database 65, for example.
  • [0028]
    The vehicle schedule 37 preferably indicates at least which packages 25 are assigned to the vehicle 27 shown by FIG. 1 and indicates the premises 21 at which each of the packages 25 is to be delivered. As a result, the vehicle schedule 37 can be analyzed to determine which packages 25 are to be delivered by a particular vehicle 27 and where each of these packages 25 is to be delivered. When the system 10 is associated with a plurality of vehicles 27, there may be a plurality of vehicle schedules 37 respectively corresponding with the plurality of vehicles 27. Therefore, each vehicle 27 corresponds to a vehicle schedule 37 that indicates which packages 25 have been assigned to the vehicle 27 for delivery.
  • [0029]
    The vehicle schedule 37 may also indicate the order in which the vehicle 27 is scheduled to deliver each of the packages 25 or set of packages 25. Furthermore, vehicle schedule 37 may also define the approximate respective time that the vehicle 27 is expected to deliver each of the packages 25. Since the order of delivery is known, it is possible to predict the time period in which each package 25 is to be respectively delivered with a relatively high degree of precision and accuracy.
  • [0030]
    The vehicle schedule 37 also includes contact information that may be used to establish communication with the recipient communications devices 18. As an example, when the communications device 18 is a telephone or a pager, the contact information preferably defines a phone number that may be used to establish a telephone call with the device 18. In another example, when the communications device 18 is a computer modem designed to communicate e-mail messages, the contact information defines the e-mail address of the device 18. Therefore, the vehicle schedule 37 not only includes information defining when the vehicle 27 is expected to deliver each package 25 but also includes contact information that enables the base station communications device 61 to establish communication with the recipient communications device 18.
  • [0031]
    There are various methodologies that may be employed to create or to otherwise define the data in the vehicle schedule 37. For example, a human operator may assign a plurality of packages 25 to a particular vehicle 27 and estimate the time at which each of the packages 25 will be delivered based on the order of delivery, as determined by the human operator. Then, the human operator may enter the aforementioned data into the system 34 via input device 44 to create the vehicle schedule 37.
  • [0032]
    In another embodiment, the foregoing functionality may be performed by the system manager 30 stored in memory 32. In this regard, the system manager 30 may be configured to analyze the data stored in database 65 and to automatically assign a plurality of packages 25 to the vehicle 27 based on the data stored in database 65 (e.g., based on the locations of the scheduled deliveries). Then, the system manager 30 may be designed to determine an order of delivery based on the locations of the premises 21 that are to receive the packages 25 presently assigned to the vehicle 27, and the system manager 30 may also estimate the time that each package 25 will be delivered based on a variety of factors, such as the order of delivery, the distance between delivery locations, the amount of time required to make past deliveries to the same or nearby locations, etc. Moreover, any technique or combinations of techniques may be employed to create vehicle schedule 37 without departing from the principles of the present invention. U.S. patent application entitled “Base Station Apparatus and Method for Monitoring Travel of a Mobile Vehicle,” assigned Ser. No. 09/395,501, and filed on Sep. 14, 1999, which is incorporated herein by reference, describes in more detail techniques for creating a vehicle schedule 37.
  • [0033]
    In addition, a scanner 67 may be utilized in determining which packages 25 are assigned to which vehicles 27. In this regard, packages 25 may be scanned as they are being loaded onto a particular vehicle 27 to determine which packages 27 are assigned to the vehicle 27. For example, each package 25 may include a label having a bar code or other machine-readable markings that identify the package 27. To load a vehicle 27 with packages 25, the packages 25 assigned to the vehicle 27 on a particular day are usually grouped together and loaded onto the vehicle 27 during a loading period. The labels of the packages 25 grouped together for loading may be scanned by a scanner 67 that identifies the packages based on the information scanned from the labels. Alternatively, the label of each package 25 being loaded onto the vehicle 27 may be scanned by the scanner 67 to identify the packages 25 loaded onto the vehicle 27, or the labels of the packages 25 may be scanned after the packages 27 have been loaded onto the vehicle 27. Each of the foregoing package 25 scanned by the scanner 67 is assumed to be assigned to the vehicle 27. Information identifying the vehicle 27 and each package 25 assigned to the vehicle 27 is transmitted from the scanner 67 to the system manager 30, when the scanner 67 is interfaced with the computer system 34, as shown by FIG. 2. The system manager 30 then stores this information in the vehicle schedule 37, as appropriate, to indicate which packages 25 have been assigned to vehicle 27 for delivery.
  • [0034]
    The system manager 30 is configured to analyze the vehicle schedule 37 and to transmit a notification message to the recipient communications device 18 indicating when the vehicle 27 is expected to deliver a package 25 to the recipient's premises 21, as determined from the vehicle schedule 37. Therefore, the notification message informs the recipient at premises 21 that he or she is to receive a package 25 and informs the recipient of when he or she is expected to receive the package 25. The time provided to the recipient is more precise and accurate than times conventionally provided to recipients, since the time indicated in the vehicle schedule 37 takes into account the order of deliveries that the vehicle 27 is scheduled to make on the day of the package delivery.
  • [0035]
    As previously indicated, it is possible for the system 10 to report the delivery for a plurality of vehicles 27. In this regard, a vehicle schedule 37 for each vehicle 27 is created and stored in memory 32. The system manager 30 then analyzes each vehicle schedule 37, according to the techniques described herein, and transmits a notification message to each recipient that is scheduled to receive a package 25 during a particular time period (e.g., on the same day).
  • [0036]
    It should be noted that it is not necessary for the system manager 30 to base the notification messages on the order that the vehicle 27 is scheduled to deliver packages 25. For example, in another embodiment, the system manager 30 can be configured to analyze the data in database 65 to determine which packages 25 are scheduled to be delivered during a particular time period (e.g., on the same day) and to transmit notification messages for these packages 25. However, since the system manager 30 does not utilize the order of deliveries, as in the preferred embodiment, the time of delivery indicated by the notification messages is less precise. Consequently, each recipient is automatically warned of each impending delivery that is to occur during the particular time period but is not necessarily provided with a relatively precise indication of when each delivery will occur during the particular time period.
  • [0037]
    It should be further noted that the present invention has been described herein as providing notification messages to notify users of impending arrivals of packages 25. However, it is possible for the present invention to be utilized, as described herein, to notify users of impending pick-ups by vehicles, if desired. For example, the present invention may be utilized to notify a user when a vehicle 27 is scheduled to pick-up an item at a particular location.
  • [0038]
    Furthermore, it should also be noted that system manager 30 may be configured to automatically transmit a notification message to communications device 18 in response to an event that indicates when a package 25 is assigned to a vehicle 27. For example, when the label of a package 25 is scanned by scanner 67, as described hereinbefore, and when data indicating that a package 25 is assigned to a particular vehicle 27 is transmitted to the system manger 30 via scanner 67, the system manager 30 may be configured transmit a notification message in response to the foregoing data. In this regard, the system manager 30 may retrieve contact information associated with the package 25 from database 65 and utilizes the retrieved contact information to transmit a notification message to the communications device 18. Alternatively, the system manager 30 may transmit the notification message in response to other events that may indicate that the package 25 has been assigned to a vehicle. For example, when an operator enters data into the system 34 via input device 44 indicating that a package 25 has been assigned to a particular vehicle 27, the system manager 30, in response to this data, may transmit a notification message to the communications device 18 associated with the recipient that is to receive the package 25.
  • [0039]
    Once a package 25 is assigned to a particular vehicle 27 for delivery on a particular date and/or at a particular time, it is likely that the package 25 will be delivered at the particular time (e.g., on a particular date). Therefore, in many delivery systems 10, the estimated time of delivery for a package 25 that has already been assigned to a vehicle 27 is more likely to be correct than an estimated date and/or time of delivery for a package that has yet to be assigned to a vehicle 27. By transmitting the notification message after detecting that the corresponding package 25 has been assigned to a vehicle 27, the accuracy of the notification messages may be improved.
  • [0040]
    In addition, once the vehicle 27 begins traveling its delivery route, the system manager 30 can be configured to track the vehicle 27 and to transmit another notification message to the recipient's communications device 18, when the vehicle 27 is within a predefined proximity (e.g., distance or time) of the premises 21. U.S. patent application entitled “Advance Notification System and Method Utilizing a Computer Network,” assigned Ser. No. 08/852,119, and filed on May 6, 1997, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,400,020, which are both incorporated herein by reference, describes in more detail how the vehicle 27 may be so tracked by the system manager 30 based on signals transmitted from the vehicle 27 and how such a notification message may be transmitted.
  • [0041]
    It should be further noted that the contact information may be provided from any source. For example, the sender may provide the contact information, which is then entered into the system 34. Alternatively, the contact information may be provided by the recipient. For example, a web page may be established by the operator of the system 34 that enables users, including recipients, to provide the contact information needed to establish communication with communications device 18. Therefore, if the recipient would like to receive notice of when a package 25 should be delivered to the recipient, the recipient may utilize the web page via conventional techniques to submit the necessary contact information, which is then provided to system 34 via network interface 55. Furthermore, the contact information may be retained for future deliveries. For example, the contact information may be permanently stored in database 65 along with the recipient's address or other information that uniquely identifies the recipient. Whenever a package 25 is destined for the user, the system manager 30 can then analyze the database 65 to determine the contact information for the recipient.
  • Operation
  • [0042]
    The preferred use and operation of the package delivery notification system 10 and associated methodology are described hereafter with reference to FIG. 3.
  • [0043]
    Assume for illustrative purposes that a sender utilizes a delivery service to send at least one package 25 to a recipient at the recipient premises 21 shown by FIG. 1. The sender may provide an operator of the delivery service with the address of the premises 21 and preferably the contact information necessary to establish communication with the recipient communications device 18. However, as previously indicated, the contact information may be provided by the recipient or other source. As shown by block 72 of FIG. 3, the delivery service via a human operator or system manager 30 assigns a package identifier to the package 25 and stores the package identifier and the information provided by the sender into an entry in the database 65.
  • [0044]
    At some point, the package 25 is assigned to a particular vehicle 27 that is to deliver the package 25 to the premises 21 on a particular day, as depicted by blocks 75 and 78. The vehicle 27 may be assigned other packages 25 to deliver to other premises 21. Based on the packages 25 to be delivered by the vehicle 27 on the particular day (or some other time period), the vehicle schedule 37 is produced in block 81. The vehicle schedule 37 includes data that defines which packages 25 are to be delivered by the vehicle 27 on the particular day (or some other time period), when these packages 25 are expected to be delivered, and the contact information necessary to establish communication with the recipient communications devices 18 associated with the recipients that are to receive a package 25 from the vehicle 27 on the particular day (or other time period).
  • [0045]
    As an example, assume that the package 25 provided by the aforementioned sender is scheduled to be the third package 25 to be delivered by the vehicle 27. Based upon the package's order of delivery, the approximate time of delivery of the package 25 is determined and stored in memory 32, as shown by block 83. For example, it may be assumed that each delivery will take fifteen minutes on the average. Therefore, the delivery of the foregoing package 25 is expected to occur approximately forty-five minutes after the vehicle 27 begins its delivery route. Assuming that the vehicle 27 is scheduled to begin its delivery route at approximately 9:00 a.m., the time in vehicle schedule 37 indicating the time of delivery of the foregoing package 25 should be defined as 9:45 a.m. Alternatively, a margin of error of ten minutes, for example, could be factored in such that the time of delivery of the foregoing package 25 could be defined in vehicle schedule 37 as between approximately 9:35 a.m. and approximately 9:55 a.m.
  • [0046]
    In other embodiments, other factors could be accounted for. For example, instead of using an average time for each delivery, the time of each delivery could be estimated based on the order of delivery and the distances between successive deliveries. Furthermore, expected traffic conditions (e.g., congested or non-congested) or other factors could be considered to make the estimates more accurate. In any event, the time of delivery indicated by the vehicle schedule 37 is based on the expected order of deliveries that the vehicle 27 is expected to make in delivering the assigned packages 25.
  • [0047]
    Once the vehicle schedule 37 is defined, the system manager 30 transmits a notification message in block 85 of FIG. 3 to each recipient that is expected to receive a delivery from the vehicle 27. Therefore, the communications device 18 at the premises 21 receives a notification message and interfaces the notification message with the recipient. By analyzing the notification message, the recipient is aware that a package 25 is being delivered to the recipient and is aware of the approximate time that the package 25 should arrive at the premises 21.
  • [0048]
    In the preferred embodiment, the notification messages for the packages 25 to be delivered by the vehicle 27 on the same day are transmitted to the recipients on the day that the vehicle 27 is to make the deliveries. However, the notification messages may be transmitted at other times, if desired. Furthermore, the vehicle schedule 37 has been described hereinabove as defining the deliveries that are to be made by the vehicle 27 on a particular day. However, the vehicle schedule 37 may be used to define the deliveries that are to be made by the vehicle 27 for other time periods, if desired.
  • [0049]
    It should be noted that, in the preferred embodiment, the system manager 30 performs each of the steps depicted by FIG. 3. However, it is not necessary for the system manager 30 to perform each of these steps, and it is possible for some of the steps to be performed by other devices and/or by a human operator. For example, it is possible for a human operator and/or another device to perform blocks 72, 75, 78, and 81 while the system manager 30 performs blocks 83 and 85. In other embodiments, other combinations are possible.
  • [0050]
    In addition it is possible to omit block 83. For example, a notification message could be transmitted to the communications device 18 of each recipient that is to receive at least one of the packages 25 that is assigned to a particular vehicle 27 in block 78. Therefore, once a package 25 is assigned to a particular vehicle 27, a notification message identifying approximately when the package 25 should arrive at the recipient's premises 21 is transmitted to the recipient. It is not necessary for the time indicated by the notification message to be based on the order of deliveries that the vehicle 27 is expected to make.
  • [0051]
    It should be emphasized that the above-described embodiments of the present invention, particularly, any “preferred” embodiments, are merely possible examples of implementations, merely set forth for a clear understanding of the principles of the invention. Many variations and modifications may be made to the above-described embodiment(s) of the invention without departing substantially from the spirit and principles of the invention. All such modifications and variations are intended to be included herein within the scope of the present invention and protected by the claims.
Citas de patentes
Patente citada Fecha de presentación Fecha de publicación Solicitante Título
US3568161 *4 Sep 19682 Mar 1971Elwyn Raymond KnickelVehicle locator system
US3644883 *29 Dic 196922 Feb 1972Motorola IncAutomatic vehicle monitoring identification location alarm and voice communications system
US3886515 *24 May 197327 May 1975Thomson CsfAutomatic vehicle-monitoring system
US3934125 *28 Sep 197320 Ene 1976General Signal CorporationAutomatic vehicle operation system
US4325057 *30 Jun 198013 Abr 1982Bishop-Hall, Inc.School bus approach notification method and apparatus
US4525601 *13 Dic 198325 Jun 1985Barnich Richard GTelephone call accounting system
US4585904 *6 Ene 198429 Abr 1986General Telephone Inc.Programmable computerized telephone call cost metering device
US4799162 *24 Oct 198617 Ene 1989Mitsubishi Denki Kabushiki KaishaRoute bus service controlling system
US4804837 *11 Ene 198814 Feb 1989Eaton CorporationIon implantation surface charge control method and apparatus
US4812843 *11 Ago 198714 Mar 1989Champion Iii C PaulTelephone accessible information system
US4813065 *13 Oct 198714 Mar 1989Segala James JComputerized telephone accounting system
US4832204 *11 Jul 198623 May 1989Roadway Package System, Inc.Package handling and sorting system
US4894649 *7 Ene 198816 Ene 1990Motorola, Inc.Pager having time controlled functions
US5003584 *16 Abr 199026 Mar 1991At&T Bell LaboratoriesMethod and apparatus for the billing of value-added communication calls
US5006847 *5 Abr 19889 Abr 1991Aeg Westinghouse Transportation Systems, Inc.Train motion detection apparatus
US5014206 *22 Ago 19887 May 1991Facilitech International IncorporatedTracking system
US5021780 *29 Sep 19894 Jun 1991Richard F. FabianoBus passenger alerting system
US5021789 *2 Jul 19904 Jun 1991The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Air ForceReal-time high resolution autofocus system in digital radar signal processors
US5097429 *23 Abr 199017 Mar 1992Wood Marc BProgrammable event reminder apparatus
US5103475 *29 Oct 19907 Abr 1992At&T Bell LaboratoriesProcessing of telecommunications call billing data
US5113185 *1 Oct 199012 May 1992Honda Giken Kogyo Kabushiki KaishaCurrent location indication apparatus for use in an automotive vehicle
US5121326 *6 Mar 19919 Jun 1992Aisin Aw Co., Ltd.Display system in navigation apparatus
US5122959 *28 Oct 198816 Jun 1992Automated Dispatch Services, Inc.Transportation dispatch and delivery tracking system
US5131020 *29 Dic 198914 Jul 1992Smartroutes Systems Limited PartnershipMethod of and system for providing continually updated traffic or other information to telephonically and other communications-linked customers
US5179584 *1 Nov 199112 Ene 1993Ricos Co., Ltd.Automatic billing system controller
US5218629 *12 May 19898 Jun 1993Public Access Cellular Telephone, Inc.Communication system for message display onboard mass transit vehicles
US5218632 *16 Oct 19918 Jun 1993Telefonaktiebolaget L M EricssonFlexible call detail recording system
US5223844 *17 Abr 199229 Jun 1993Auto-Trac, Inc.Vehicle tracking and security system
US5299132 *28 Jul 199229 Mar 1994By-Word Technologies, Inc.Vehicle locating and communicating method and apparatus using cellular telephone network
US5323456 *5 Jun 199221 Jun 1994Mitel Corp.Digitally controlled ringer signal generation
US5381338 *18 Nov 199310 Ene 1995Wysocki; David A.Real time three dimensional geo-referenced digital orthophotograph-based positioning, navigation, collision avoidance and decision support system
US5381467 *30 Oct 199210 Ene 1995At&T Corp.Telephone call billing system
US5394332 *26 Feb 199228 Feb 1995Pioneer Electronic CorporationOn-board navigation system having audible tone indicating remaining distance or time in a trip
US5398190 *6 Ene 199414 Mar 1995Hm Holding CorporationVehicle locating and communicating method and apparatus
US5400020 *18 May 199321 Mar 1995Global Research Systems, Inc.Advance notification system and method
US5420794 *30 Jun 199330 May 1995James; Robert D.Automated highway system for controlling the operating parameters of a vehicle
US5428546 *16 Oct 199227 Jun 1995Mobile Information SystemsMethod and apparatus for tracking vehicle location
US5432841 *10 Jul 199211 Jul 1995Rimer; Neil A.System for locating and communicating with mobile vehicles
US5483234 *2 Jun 19949 Ene 1996Jean-Claude DecauxInstallation for informing users of a bus network about waiting times for the buses
US5483454 *29 Abr 19949 Ene 1996Jean-Claude DecauxPortable appliances for informing bus users
US5493295 *20 Jul 199320 Feb 1996Jean-Claude DecauxSystem for informing users about urban transport
US5493694 *8 Nov 199320 Feb 1996Trimble Navigation LimitedFast response system for a fleet of vehicles
US5506893 *29 Nov 19949 Abr 1996At&T Corp.Telecommunication network arrangement for providing real time access to call records
US5513111 *22 Jul 199430 Abr 1996Highway Master Communications, Inc.Vehicle locating and communicating method and apparatus
US5515421 *26 Sep 19947 May 1996Harris CorporationAutomatic batch broadcast system
US5519621 *17 Mar 199521 May 1996Highwaymaster Communications, Inc.Vehicle locating and communicating method and apparatus
US5526401 *31 Oct 199411 Jun 1996Bellsouth CorporationMethods and apparatus for acknowledging a paging message via a cellular network control channel
US5539810 *28 Dic 199323 Jul 1996Highwaymaster Communications, Inc.Data messaging in a communications network
US5594650 *9 May 199514 Ene 1997Mobile Information Systems, Inc.Method and apparatus for tracking vehicle location
US5594787 *19 Jul 199514 Ene 1997Fujitsu LimitedCall toll processing method and call toll processing apparatus
US5602739 *22 Nov 199511 Feb 1997Minnesota Mining And Manufacturing CompanyVehicle tracking system incorporating traffic signal preemption
US5623260 *2 May 199522 Abr 1997Global Research Systems, Inc.Advance notification system and method utilizing passenger-definable notification time period
US5648770 *6 Abr 199515 Jul 1997Worldwide Notification Systems, Inc.Apparatus and method of notifying a party of a pending delivery or pickup
US5652707 *5 Abr 199629 Jul 1997Highwaymaster Communications, Inc.Vehicle locating and communicating method and apparatus
US5712908 *17 May 199627 Ene 1998Unisys CorporationApparatus and method for generating call duration billing records utilizing ISUP messages in the CCS/SS7 telecommunications network
US5715307 *19 Abr 19963 Feb 1998Rockwell International CorporationIntegrated voice and business transaction reporting for telephone call centers
US5719771 *1 Dic 199517 Feb 1998Amsc Subsidiary CorporationSystem for mapping occurrences of conditions in a transport route
US5724243 *10 Feb 19953 Mar 1998Highwaymaster Communications, Inc.Method and apparatus for determining expected time of arrival
US5724584 *15 Ago 19963 Mar 1998Teleflex Information Systems, Inc.Method and apparatus for processing discrete billing events
US5729597 *16 May 199517 Mar 1998At&T CorpService and information management system for a telecommunications network
US5732074 *16 Ene 199624 Mar 1998Cellport Labs, Inc.Mobile portable wireless communication system
US5734981 *17 Mar 199531 Mar 1998Highwaymaster Communications, Inc.Method and apparatus for call delivery to a mobile unit
US5736940 *29 Ene 19967 Abr 1998Burgener; E. C.Portable transit data information system and apparatus
US5739774 *12 Jul 199614 Abr 1998Olandesi; Antonio Carlos TambascoMass transit monitoring and control system
US5742672 *18 Jul 199521 Abr 1998Burk; PeterInstallation of a multi-terminal network
US5751245 *7 Mar 199612 May 1998Trimble Navigation Ltd.Vehicle route and schedule exception reporting system
US5760742 *20 Ago 19972 Jun 1998Trimble Navigation LimitedIntegrated mobile GIS/GPS/AVL with wireless messaging capability
US5771282 *4 Dic 199623 Jun 1998At&T Corp.Method for billing multiple services on a single account
US5771455 *15 Dic 199523 Jun 1998Highwaymaster Communications, Inc.Data messaging in a communications network using a feature request
US5774825 *18 Oct 199530 Jun 1998Trimble Navigation LimitedSystem for automatic vehicle location via cable TV
US5781156 *23 Abr 199714 Jul 1998Snaptrack, Inc.GPS receiver and method for processing GPS signals
US5784443 *1 Feb 199621 Jul 1998Mci CorporationIntegrated revenue domain for telecommunication networks
US5864610 *26 Ene 199826 Ene 1999At&T Corp.Interactive and information data services telephone billing system
US5875238 *21 Dic 199523 Feb 1999Ericsson Inc.Transport mechanism for accounting messages within a telecommunications system
US5881138 *27 Abr 19979 Mar 1999Ameritech CorporationMethod and system for detecting a change in at least one telecommunication service rate plan
US5910979 *20 Oct 19978 Jun 1999At&T Corp.Method for billing local communication services provided by an interexchange communication network
US5912954 *31 Dic 199715 Jun 1999Alcatel Usa Sourcing, L.P.Method and system for providing billing information in a telecommunications network
US5915006 *1 May 199722 Jun 1999At&T Corp.Telephone line aggregated billing
US5920613 *25 Abr 19976 Jul 1999Ameritech CorporationMethod and system for generating a billing record
US6070793 *22 Ene 19986 Jun 2000Eastman Kodak CompanyMethod and arrangement for tracking and controlling the delivery and/or pickup of goods/containers for goods
US6178378 *30 Abr 199923 Ene 2001General Motors CorporationMethod for operating a navigation system for motor vehicles
US6184802 *13 Oct 19996 Feb 2001Robert Goodman LambAutonomous estimator of vehicle arrival time
US6191708 *24 Mar 200020 Feb 2001William E. DavidsonMethod and system for providing information regarding the location of a vehicle
US6222462 *13 May 199924 Abr 2001Robin HahnMethod and apparatus for warning drivers as to the presence of concealed hazards
US6240362 *19 Oct 200029 May 2001Iap Intermodal, LlcMethod to schedule a vehicle in real-time to transport freight and passengers
US6253146 *6 Dic 199926 Jun 2001At&T Corp.Network-based traffic congestion notification service
US6253148 *1 Jul 199826 Jun 2001Jean-Claude DecauxInformation system for informing users of a public transport network about waiting times at stops in the network
US6360101 *31 Dic 199819 Mar 2002Ericsson Inc.Cellular phone that displays or sends messages upon its arrival at a predetermined location
US6363254 *30 Sep 199826 Mar 2002Global Research Systems, Inc.System and method for enciphering and communicating vehicle tracking information
US6363323 *14 Sep 199926 Mar 2002Global Research Systems, Inc.Apparatus and method for monitoring travel of a mobile vehicle
US6374176 *27 Sep 199916 Abr 2002Nextbus Information Systems, Inc.Public transit vehicle arrival information system
US6400956 *15 Nov 19994 Jun 2002Lucent Technologies Inc.Method and apparatus for a wireless telecommunication system that provides location-based action services
US6411891 *26 Abr 200025 Jun 2002Global Research Systems, Inc.Advance notification system and method utilizing user-definable notification time periods
US6510383 *1 Mar 200021 Ene 2003Arrivalstar, Inc.Vehicular route optimization system and method
US20020016171 *30 Sep 19987 Feb 2002Yurdaer N. DoganataMobile unit location system for automatically reporting to a central controller and subscriber the proximity of mobile units to a destination
US20020069017 *18 Ene 20026 Jun 2002Schmier Kenneth J.Public transit vehicle arrival information system
US20020070882 *6 Nov 200113 Jun 2002Jones Martin KellyAdvance notification system and method utilizing vehicle signaling
US20020082770 *18 Jul 200127 Jun 2002Jones Martin KellySystem and method for an advance notification system for monitoring and reporting proximity of a vehicle
US20050038758 *26 Abr 200417 Feb 2005United Parcel Service Of AmericaInternet package shipping systems and methods
Citada por
Patente citante Fecha de presentación Fecha de publicación Solicitante Título
US7528722 *5 Sep 20065 May 2009Nelson David GSystem and method for notifying a package recipient of package arrival
US8015023 *29 Ago 20076 Sep 2011Sprint Communications Company L.P.Package or mail delivery notice and confirmation
US85486694 Ene 20101 Oct 2013New Flyer Industries Canada UlcSystem and method for monitoring operation of vehicles
US20040128207 *6 Sep 20011 Jul 2004Ray Christine R LSystems and methods for providing item delivery notification
US20060138223 *23 Dic 200429 Jun 2006Schar Brian AShipping information acquisition device and usage
US20060184405 *19 Ago 200517 Ago 2006Scott Gale RDelivery operations information system with planning and scheduling feature and methods of use
US20080061966 *5 Sep 200613 Mar 2008Nelson David GSystem and method for notifying a package recipient of package arrival
US20080133261 *14 Ene 20085 Jun 2008United States Postal ServiceSystems and methods for providing item delivery notification
US20100174576 *4 Ene 20108 Jul 2010New Flyer Industries Canada UlcSystem and method for monitoring operation of vehicles
US20110137698 *3 Dic 20109 Jun 20113Pd, Inc.Service call-ahead system and method
WO2015143200A1 *19 Mar 201524 Sep 2015Chromera, Inc.Intelligent label processing system
Clasificaciones
Clasificación de EE.UU.705/7.12
Clasificación internacionalG06Q10/08, G06Q10/06, G08G1/123, G06Q99/00
Clasificación cooperativaG06Q10/06316, G06Q10/08, G06Q10/0631, G06Q10/083
Clasificación europeaG06Q10/08, G06Q10/06316, G06Q10/083, G06Q10/0631
Eventos legales
FechaCódigoEventoDescripción
7 Abr 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: MELVINO TECHNOLOGIES, INC., VIRGIN ISLANDS, BRITIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ARRIVALSTAR, INC.;ARRIVALSTAR JERSEY LIMITED;REEL/FRAME:017435/0105;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060203 TO 20060206
16 Jun 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: ARRIVALSTAR, INC., FLORIDA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:JONES, M. KELLY;REEL/FRAME:017798/0534
Effective date: 20050927