Future Amazon deliveries could be coming from the skies, and it is not just drones that would be making it possible. Instead, Amazon seems to have something even more elaborate up its sleeve. Or as has been found in a recent Amazon patent filing revealed by CB Insights ‘Zoe Leavitt‘, the retail giant is envisaging an ‘Airborne Fulfillment Center utilizing unmanned aerial vehicles for item delivery.’
In other words, it is a giant zeppelin warehouse that would be floating in the sky and would serve as the mothership, with other smaller drones operating off it to deliver the shipments to individuals on the ground. Such Airborne Fulfillment Center or AFC would be designed to remain floating in the sky at altitudes of say, 45,000 feet.
Additionally, there would be smaller airships that would be used to maintain inventory in the mothership. In fact, there would be a chain of supply ships that would be needed to replenish the mothership with all the fuel, packages and other stuff she needs.
It also isn’t clear if the entire operation would be autonomous or there would be humans to manage things both on and off the mothership. In the latter scenario, there would be a separate shuttle line to transport the human staff working in a shift at the mothership.
Needless to say, things would be a lot simpler if there are computer programs and robots to manage operations within the AFC, or else, there would be the need to set up a command and control center to manage operations ranging from managing inventory using smaller airships to doing the delivery using drones.
However, patent drawings are not always indications of those becoming a reality in the foreseeable future. In fact, with Amazon finding it hard to convince authorities in the United States to get started with even its delivery program using drones, having something as elaborate as the AFC can be a bit too far-fetched, it must be said.
In fact, it has only been recently that Amazon got off the ground with its drone delivery ambitions in the UK, which also happens to be the only place in the world where the retail giant is using drones to deliver packages. As such, it remains to be seen how soon Amazon is able to pull off its AFC stunt if at all it does.