Amazon is taking airborne logistics idea further with a mobile floating distribution center. Amazon, which recently began basic package deliveries via drone, is taking the airborne logistics idea further the with the concept of a mobile floating distribution center. The online retailer has received a patent for a system that includes an “aerial fulfillment center” in the form of an airship and unmanned aerial vehicles to carry items to and from it. As CNN reported on Thursday, it’s unclear whether Amazon is actively developing the floating warehouse, which patent papers show as a high-altitude blimp with smaller airships it calls “shuttles” flying back and forth to transfer goods, personnel, delivery drones and other equipment. One potential use would be large sporting events, where a floating warehouse could park overhead as small delivery drones deliver food and other items to the crowds below, according to the report.
Amazon also envisions different shapes and sizes for the airships, which “may be hundreds of feet long and capable of carrying several hundreds of tons.” The company has been ambitiously pursuing its drone delivery concept, working around airspace and other UAV limitations as it continues to test its delivery drones, which recently began dropping off small items to customers in a rural U.K. community. According to a CNBC report on the airship idea, Amazon has been obtaining patents for other drone-related concepts, such as inter-drone communications and recharging stations atop lampposts and other structures.