Amazon patent unveils plan for ‘flying warehouses’ that release drones

A flying mini-drone that would be used to fly small packages to consumers at the Amazon Prime Air Fulfillment Center in near Cambridge. Picture: AFP/Amazon Source:AFP

The discovery of an Amazon patent has shown the company’s incredible plans for the future of drone technology after it successfully secured a patent to produce ‘flying warehouses’ that would deploy drones from high in the sky to deliver goods to homes below.

The patent was granted by the US patent office in April, but it was only recently uncovered by tech analyst Zoe Leavitt. The ‘airborne warehouses’ will fly over cities at 45,000 feet which would then subsequently release fleets of drones tasked to deliver products on demand to customers residences.  

It has also been disclosed that Amazon plans to save energy by performing this method of delivery -by dropping the drones using gravity before kicking in with their motors. Earlier this month Amazon announced it had made its first successful delivery by drone, when shipping a small parcel to a customer in Cambridge.

The patent describes a range of uses for the flying warehouses, including flying above a football game and loaded with sporting paraphernalia and food products that spectators at the game could order and get delivered instantly by drone. “Perishable items or even prepared meals can be delivered in a timely fashion to a user,” the patent says.

The abstract describes the system as having three components: the giant warehouses floating over the city; the fleet of delivery drones and smaller airships that are used to stock the warehouses and fly at a lower altitude to recover the drones.

Drone technology is becoming a key vertical for many tech businesses – and Amazon are continuing to invest a significant amount of time and money in their efforts to be a market leader in the sector. This was evidenced further following the announcement that another Amazon patent, revealed this week, describes a system for protecting delivery drones from hackers, lightning, and bows and arrows.

The existence of the patent does not mean the scheme will become a reality any time soon, but does indicate how Amazon is thinking of revolutionizing the delivery process.