Amazon wants a giant warehouse in the sky for drone deliveries
Showing up recently in a registered patent, Amazon wants to build an “airborne fulfillment center” (AFC) that would hover 45 thousand feet in the sky in order to dispatch drones around a city for deliveries. Conceptually, this would allow customers to receive packages much faster since drones would be dispatched at a location closer to their home.
In addition, Amazon envisions smaller airships that would transport Amazon warehouse workers to and from the giant airship. These ships would also refuel the giant airborne fulfillment center, resupply the AFC with inventory and return drones that ran out of power.
Within the patent, Amazon poses as example of the technology. An AFC could hover over a stadium during a football game and airdrop products like team merchandise to fans during the game. Hypothetically, this function could be useful for any live event as well as any area that’s experienced a natural disaster, thus delivering a constant flow of emergency supplies.
Also hypothetically, Amazon could limit AFC as a delivery option to customers that have signed up for Prime. Since it would likely be the fastest way to receive a package, Amazon would be able to attract new household to the Prime subscription or charge a premium for the expedient delivery method.
Of course, this delivery concept is only a patent at this stage. Amazon has just started testing the feasibility of drone deliveries from land-based warehouses in the United Kingdom to a limited number of customers. Prime Air deliveries may or may not become feasible in the United States in the near future as the method is dependent on airspace restrictions developed by the FAA.