Amazon Files Patent For Airborne Fulfillment Center

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If somebody asked you, "Who was the first company to patent an airship design with a warehouse dangling from it that sends delivery drones down to the populace?," and you answered Amazon, you would be completely correct. The plans hit the US Patent Office just recently, and they are grand indeed. Amazon's big concepts include a zeppelin with a warehouse suspended from it by cables as only the main attraction; there's also an entire software backend supporting the operation from the ground, a crew to maintain the whole thing, and even a shuttle to take cadres of drones up to the massive airships so that they can conserve their energy for delivering Amazon orders.

On the software side, the control of a single unmanned delivery drone consists of a menagerie of parts, such as a built-in navigation system, and networking capabilities to help with confirming deliveries and receiving orders. Server systems take care of data storage and modification for the entire operation as needed, allowing seamless management of product movement data, drone maintenance data, and order and inventory data. The process for a drone, aside from navigation, is actually deceptively simple; it arrives at the floating warehouse, receives its product and order, makes its delivery, and then is either loaded up onto a shuttle to charge up and make its next delivery from a floating warehouse, or is diverted for service or other purposes.

Amazon's ambitions in the arena of drone delivery have been quite public for some years now, and this plan seems to be the culmination of all that planning, including showing off and testing earlier drone designs. Naturally, since it's only a patent, we have no way of knowing when or even if Amazon could start building out and using such a thing, and they have thus far maintained radio silence on the matter. Without any official word, these plans may end up being nothing more than an ambitious fantasy. Still, if these concepts were to become a reality, Amazon's drone delivery empire could very quickly and easily eclipse Google's somewhat stalled Project Wing, giving them utter dominance in the brand-new market.

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