It is likely you have heard about Amazon’s plans to start delivering goods by drone.
Amazon says its fleet of small drones will collect parcels and deliver them to customers in under 30 minutes. In fact, the first delivery was completed on 14 December.
The biggest obstacle that Amazon faces is the fact that the drones can’t travel very far without the batteries running out and they have even explored the possibility of ‘docking stations’ on street lights and church steeples.
Amazon do seem to have found a solution, ‘airborne fullfillment centres’ (AFC) which are essentially warehouses attached to airships.
These AFCs will be positioned in high demand areas at an altitude of around 45,000 feet.
The delivery process begins when Amazon receives an order from a customer, one of its drones will automatically be launched from the AFC to the deliver the goods to the designated address.
According to the patent, the drone uses a minimal amount of power to navigate horizontally to the location before stabilising and guiding itself as it begins its descent.
Amazon see the AFCs as being used at sporting events and festivals where they can deliver food or souvenirs.
The patent was originally filed in 2014 but has only just come to light.
It should be stressed that the patent certainly doesn’t mean that flying warehouses will be in our skies sometime soon as many patents never end up becoming reality.
Only time will tell if drones are a viable delivery service in the future and if Amazon can overcome problems with recharging their batteries.