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January 3, 2017

Amazon files patent for floating drone warehouse

Last month, the company made its first drone delivery in Cambridge, UK.

By CBR Staff Writer

Amazon has filed a patent for flying warehouses that could deploy Amazon drones for delivering parcels to customers.

The patent, originally filed by the company in 2014, details that the warehouses, referred to as airborne fulfilment centres (AFCs), would be carried by airships.

The AFCs could be positioned above cities, and used to store and rapidly deliver items at times of high demand.

The patent states that drones dispatched from AFCs would use no power, as the UAV includes a wing and is configured to glide toward the delivery location as it descends.

The AFC may be an airship that remains at a high altitude of 45,000 feet and UAVs with ordered items could be deployed from the AFC to deliver ordered items to user designated delivery locations.

The filing also details a series of shuttles, which may be used to replenish the larger AFCs with stock and fuel, or transport workers to and from the airborne warehouses.

Amazon Drone

 

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Areas in which the patent suggests the AFCs would be most useful include sporting event, concert, or other gathering.

“As the UAVs descend, they can navigate horizontally toward a user specified delivery location using little to no power, other than to stabilise the UAV and/or guide the direction of descent,” the patent reads.

“Shuttles (smaller airships) may be used to replenish the AFC with inventory, UAVs, supplies, fuel, etc. Likewise, the shuttles may be utilised to transport workers to and from the AFC.”

Amazon did not comment on the filing. Last month, the online retailer made its first drone delivery in Cambridge, UK as part of a trial, where the product was delivered to the customer just 13 minutes after the order was placed.

The company released several videos of the drone delivery, although the drone delivery services are currently limited to a few customers.

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