July 26, 2018
There is little doubt that logistics and supply chain management has relied heavily on technology to get products to consumers in a faster and more efficient manner. Now, Amazon is working toward the next step: A floating warehouse. Specifically, the e-commerce giant has received a patent to combine drone deliveries with product-distribution warehouses that float in the sky.
“Aerial fulfillment centers,” as Amazon dubs them, would be served by a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones. These centers would be kept aloft with help from a helium or heated air. “An AFC may be positioned at an altitude above a metropolitan area, and be designed to maintain an inventory of items that may be purchased by a user,” the patent notes. Those items would then be delivered to said user by – you guessed it – a drone.
While the idea of AFCs is intriguing, there are a few obstacles in getting this technology off the ground. For one thing, Amazon noted that the drones could fly into buildings, or even be hacked and hijacked. As of now, it’s not certain whether Amazon will actually pursue the technologies described in its AFC patent. Still, it’s interesting to think of a time in which consumers could receive purchased products directly from the heavens, via a floating warehouse.
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Amy Sorter