Amazon have filed for a patent for multi level fulfilment centres that would accommodate the take off and landing of drones in dense urban settings.
This would allow them to move away from single story warehouses that temporality store packages before they are shipped to the customer. They are also normally situated outside urban areas and are not convenient for deliveries to majorly populated cities. The beehive shape of the centres means that drones can move to a higher location, which saves the drone power because it takes energy to ascend to cruising altitude, according to the patent. The high takeoff platform will also take the constant “whirring” sound of drones away from street level, somewhat reducing noise pollution for pedestrians, the patent said.
The company would stock the beehives’ shelves the old-fashioned way — that is, by arranging freight delivery via trucks, rail or ships. Then, human personnel and robotic devices would unload and then later package orders, according to Amazon. Customers could also collect their package from the centre if they preferred. After an order is packaged, an “internal transport robot” — which could be a robot, elevator, conveyer belt or some sort of lifting mechanism. The towers could accept shipments from traditional trucks — or even boats if located close enough to a body of water, the application states.
Obviously this is only a patent, and Amazon are not about to start building their outlandish ideas, but it shows that they are trying to move with the times and come up with innovative ideas that benefit the customer. It remains to be seen whether people will be happy to live near enormous beehive domes with drones constantly coming in and out, noise pollution alone could be a massive issue, but Amazon seem as keen as ever to monopolise the delivery market in as many ways as possible.