The e-commerce industry has turned competitive over the past decade. Several associated companies having been trying to work out innovative new ways to offer its customer with the best deals, quality products and not to forget – the best customer service.
Once such online giant – Amazon, has exceeded all expectations with their latest patent, Amazon Prime Air is a flying warehouse in the sky that uses delivery drones sent to your door.
They have been working on new ways to deliver parcels to your doorstep in the earliest possible time. Since 2013, the company has stayed ambitious on its drone-delivery project and has performed several tests till now in this regard.
However, with drones, the limitations come concerning battery life which needs to be sustained to cover the return distance between the warehouse and purchaser’s destination. This would vary from buyer-to-buyer. Citing this issue, the company has recently filed patents wherein it proposes to use airships as “air fulfillment center” (AFCs).
The AFCs would then be loaded with inventory and strategically placed looking at the demand for particular products in particular regions. Additionally, the airships would also carry a fleet of aerial vehicles like drones that would cater to on-demand and scheduled deliveries.
This is what the patent reads “A computer implemented method, comprising: under control of one or more computing systems configured with executable instructions; receiving an order for an item from a user located in a metropolitan area, wherein the item is maintained in an inventory of an aerial fulfillment center (“AFC”) that is airborne at an altitude; instructing an unmanned aerial vehicle (“UAV”) located in the AFC to engage the item; instructing the UAV to depart the AFC; and instructing the UAV to navigate to a delivery location within the metropolitan area and disengage the item at the delivery location.”
The procedure would be like – once the customer places an Amazon Prime Air order, the computer system would register and check the availability of the requested item. If available the AFC would then send a UAV drone which would use the built-in mono wing and gravity to glide down towards the target. Once it gets down, it would start its motors (like a helicopter as shown in the above image) to reach the desired destination. This way a considerable amount of drone-battery-juice could be preserved till the time it reaches the ground.
Upon delivery, the UAV drone would then move towards shuttle aircraft at a ground station. The shuttle aircraft would be in the form of smaller airships making periodic flights to the AFCs. The shuttle aircraft would also be responsible for carrying away inventory to the AFCs. This leads us to conclude that the AFCs would almost be staying floating indefinitely.
However, it has to be noted that these are just the patents at the moment and nothing can be said about how fast it would lead to the practical implementation of it. However, Amazon has already tested its first drone delivery successfully in the UK earlier this year. Below is the video about the Amazon Prime Air First Customer Delivery using the drone.