Amazon is looking to develop flying warehouses, known as “airborne fulfillment centers” (AFC), for its supply chain services, according to newly-discovered patents.
Amazon plans on stocking AFCs with products and placing them at various locations where they anticipate an uptick in demand for delivery.
The AFCs would essentially serve as a way to deliver products at a way faster rate due to its proximity to the customers.
“For example, the AFC may be an airship that remains at a high altitude (e.g., 45,000 feet) and UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] with ordered items may be deployed from the AFC to deliver ordered items to user designated delivery locations,” reads the patent, which was first discovered Wednesday by Zoe Leavitt of CB Insights.
— Zoe Leavitt (@zoe_leavitt) December 28, 2016
Amazon says the drones would descend using “little to no power” since they are already airborne and would only have to, for the most part, navigate horizontally, while letting gravity do most of the work.
“Shuttles (smaller airships) may be used to replenish the AFC with inventory, UAVs, supplies, fuel, etc.,” the patent continues. Amazon also believes that it is technologically feasible for these shuttles to transport human workers to and from the AFC.
To put the potential desire for such a service in perspective, the patent outlines how a sporting event (perhaps like a tailgate) could need extra amounts of certain types of items, like food products, and team gear. AFCs and the drones, in theory, would be able to get those products to people quicker. (RELATED: College Campus To Have Burritos Delivered By Drones)
Amazon announced in July that it established a partnership with the U.K. government to test some of the e-commerce business’s drone delivery technology. (RELATED: Drone Delivery: Amazon Chose UK Over US Because Of Fewer Regulations)
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