Hi-Tech

Amazon Plans Beehive-like Drone Towers

Amazon Plans Beehive-like Drone Towers

The facilities would be built vertically to blend in with high rises in urban areas.

Amazon has applied to patent a multi-level beehive-like tower that would deploy and receive delivery drones. Seattle-based online retailer Amazon is gearing up for that day by patenting goofy, retro-looking designs for "multi-level fulfillment center [s]" created to "accommodate landing and takeoff of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), possibly in an urban setting, such as in a densely populated area".

The company filed its patent with the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) in December 2015 and the patent was published yesterday (22 June).

But as customers are becoming accustomed to speedy, on-demand delivery and services, where packages are delivered within a few hours or the same day, fulfillment centers located far away from densely populated urban areas aren't always convenient enough. Like its fulfillment centres now, the drone tower patent application included plans for robots that helped human workers fill orders and ferry items around the building. Amazon envisions each city would have one.




Many in the delivery industry appear to be taking the view that drones could be appropriate for the "niche" market of delivery in rural areas, where road access can hard and there is less risk of the drones colliding with people.

"These locations are not convenience [sic] for deliveries into cities where an ever-increasing number of people live", it says.

While you might expect a hive to be full of bees, a new patent filed by Amazon suggests that giant versions of the structures could soon be used to house drones.

On Amazon's Prime Air page, the company writes: "We are testing many different vehicle designs and delivery mechanisms to discover how best to deliver packages in a variety of operating environments".


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