Sky’s The Limit For Amazon AFC, Literally
Amazon is not messing around when it comes to delivery drones. The company, which made it’s first public demo of the Amazon Prime Air system last year, is pushing forward to make drone delivery a reality.
Earlier this week Amazon received a patent for “product-distribution warehouses capable of floating in the sky”, while blimps move/ hold the center aloft. According to the patent, the warehouse is described as “an airborne fulfillment center (AFC) and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to deliver items from the AFC to users”.
So what exactly does that mean?
The AFC is a fulfillment center positioned at an altitude above a metropolitan area and be supported by and/or incorporated into an airship.
An airship, or dirigible, is a lighter aircraft with the capability of navigating through the air under its own power. Airships gain their lift from gas that is less dense than the surrounding air, such as helium or hot air.
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When a customer places an order, the AFC would receive the order and begin preparing for delivery. A drone/ UAV would exit the AFC and fully descend carrying said order. Once fully descended, the aerial system would then navigate horizontally toward the location using power only to stabilize or guide the UAV to the location. Once at the specified location, the UAV would disengage the ordered item and complete the delivery, and return to the AFC. Amazon would use smaller airships to replenish the AFC with inventory, UAVs, supplies, fuel, and possibly even workers to and from the AFC.
While there are a lot of factors and concerns regarding how Amazon could make AFC a reality, it’s a pretty cool concept and we are eager to see what’s next for Amazon.
To read the full patent in detail, click here.