Amazon Flying Warehouse Patent
December 30, 2016
Online retailer Amazonís aspirations for the use of drones appear to go
far beyond individual deliveries by flying robots.
According to a patent filing, the company may be looking to develop huge
"airborne fulfillment centers" equipped with a fleet of drones capable
of making deliveries to individual customers.
Earlier this month, Amazon announced
the first delivery by drone in a test near the English city of
The flying warehouses, according to the patent papers, could allow
Amazon to deploy to areas where it expects a large demand for certain
products such as at a sporting event where they could be used to deliver
souvenirs or food to fans.
The patent also says the blimp-like machines could be used to restock
warehouses on the ground or transport employees.
centers would hover at altitudes as high as 14,000 meters, the patent
filing said. They would then drift lower to release drones to make
While many companies are exploring drone delivery, they have been
hampered by power issues that prevent drones from flying very far. An
airborne fulfillment center could potentially help.
It's unclear, however, if Amazon will actually pursue the flying
fulfillment centers as it has not yet commented on the filing.
Many companies file patents that never result in real-world application.
The patent was filed in 2014 but recently discovered by Zoe Leavitt of
CB Insights, which analyzes trends. Amazon has not commented on the
patent. News reports say Amazon won the patent back in April.