Last April 2016, Amazon won the patent for huge flying warehouses, or Airborne Fulfilment Centres (AFCs), that serve as launch pads for drones that can deliver parcels to key areas within minutes. The flying structures would stopover locations where they perceive demand for particular products.
The Endless Possibilities
The e-commerce giant reveals that they could hover over festivals or sporting events where they would market souvenirs or food to potential customers. They even want to consider employing an array of support vehicles to refill products in the airborne warehouses, which would soar at 45,000ft (14,000m) altitudes max.
The Air Fleet
Amazon’s patent highlights their innovative procedure to utilize drones in delivering goods. In that same month, they successfully delivered a commercial product in Cambridge using their test scheme. Based on the files that detailed the scheme, they disclosed that the combination of flying warehouses and drones would transport parcels much faster than the process used by ground-based warehouses.
The Impressive Technology
The company further adds that drones departing from their AFCs barely use any power to descend and make deliveries. To avoid drawbacks, they have prepared a broad game plan to run a fleet of drones and AFCs. They are proposing smaller airships to serve as shuttles that can take the supplies, drones and even employees to and from the bigger AFCs.
Patents are usually just that – patents, until their ideas come to fruition. Time will tell if Amazon will push through with this idea. If they do, their next step would be to get a regulatory approval from aviation authorities that could make the process even more difficult. For now, let their successful test scheme in the U.K. serve as inspiration for what’s to come.