Amazon is planning an extraordinary next step in its plans to carry out delivery via drones.
An Amazon patent available through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office details plans to create an “airborne fulfillment center“.
The patent suggested the AFC could also be used for events such as football matches, with the airship navigating to the location of the event and delivering items.According to the patent, the airship would remain at a certain altitude – 45,000 feet, as an example. Amazon contends that this would be more energy-efficient, as the drone would glide down.
In a patent filing dated Thursday, the e-commerce giant says it wants to build a “collective” unmanned aerial vehicle by having smaller drones stick together in various configurations.
In the United Kingdom earlier this month, Amazon officially delivered its first package by drone and the company said that it expected to expand trials in the near future. Other anticipated uses for the centre is more conventional: making product announcements, advertising and distributing flyers for events. There would still be employees at these facilities, with shuttles to transport workers and being sent around the ship for fueling and repairs. The company has filed multiple patents – including the airship warehouse – for drones since announcing its plans.
It’s not clear from the patent just how the airship would be powered, with the filing simply saying the crafts become airborne “from gas that is less dense than the surrounding air, such as helium or hot air“.
The company has not responded to a request for further comment.