An Amazon patent details the company’s idea for a giant drone warehouse in the sky. The patent is called “Airborne fulfillment center utilizing unmanned aerial vehicles for item delivery”.
The blimp will fly at around 45000 feet and deploy Amazon’s Prime Air drones for delivering products to customers. The first claim on the patent says, “A computer implemented method, comprising: under control of one or more computing systems configured with executable instructions; receiving an order for an item from a user located in a metropolitan area, wherein the item is maintained in an inventory of an aerial fulfillment center ("AFC") that is airborne at an altitude; instructing an unmanned aerial vehicle ("UAV") located in the AFC to engage the item; instructing the UAV to depart the AFC; and instructing the UAV to navigate to a delivery location within the metropolitan area and disengage the item at the delivery location.”
Amazon has been testing its Prime Air drones in the UK
The floating blimp will of course allow greater reach to Amazon, especially during high demand. Amazon details one of the examples, “As another example, the AFC 302 may navigate to an advertising altitude so that an expected demand or a known demand for a product can be satisfied. For example, if an event is scheduled to occur at a stadium (temporal event), the items likely to be ordered are determined and stocked in the inventory of the AFC 302. In advance of the event, the AFC 302 may navigate to a position near the event and advertise the stocked inventory items for delivery using a UAV that is deployed from the AFC 302. Ordered items can be delivered from the AFC 302 in minutes.”
Of course, this is only a patent at the moment, which means it may never come to fruition. However, the e-commerce giant has been bullish on getting its drone delivery program off the ground. In fact, Amazon has even begun testing the service in the UK.