Amazon has applied for a patent for huge multi-storey fulfillment centers for its delivery drones.
(CCM) — Amazon may soon be delivering packages in urban areas by launching drones from huge beehive-like towers, the company has hinted. Amazon applied for a patent for a "multi-level fulfillment center for unmanned aerial vehicles" at the US Patent & Trademark Office earlier this week.
The exterior shells of the beehives described in the patent application have a number of holes, allowing drones to enter and leave. The holes have doors that are opened and closed automatically by a controller, ensuring that only authorized drones are able to enter (or leave) the fulfillment center.
In the patent application, Amazon states that the beehives could be used in densely populated areas where permitted under local zoning regulations. Drone delivery is particularly suited to large cities such as London, New York, or Bangkok where road congestion and parking difficulties make it difficult for Amazon to make large numbers of deliveries in short time frames. However, many safety and other regulatory hurdles would have to be overcome before drone deliveries could be authorized in most cities.
Amazon began testing Prime Air, its 30-minute drone delivery service, in Cambridge, England in December 2016. The tests used a classic quadcopter, and the drone was capable of carrying packages that weighed up to five pounds.