The media has been abuzz with visions of a future where Amazon packages randomly drop out of the sky onto customers’ backyards. Multiple patents by the company, including drone beehives, parachute delivery systems, and a massive airship, have only worked to fuel these assumptions. A brand new patent filing spotted by global media has yet again directed the spotlight towards Amazon’s anticipated drone delivery system; the patent is one for a network of mobile workstations based on boats, tractor trailer trucks, trains, or other vehicles, which can be driven to areas of high demand.
The patent, highly ambitious from the looks of it, describes a network of intermodal delivery systems that can act as both a maintenance hub and merchandise warehouse for Amazon’s drone fleet.
The system looks like a standard shipping container, outfitted with an automated door on the ceiling, and a “retrieval apparatus comprises a landing surface configured to be raised or lowered along a vertical axis and rotated about the vertical axis.”
Like all shipping containers, these can be loaded onto vehicles, and would also contain a maintenance car equipped with extra batteries, a robotic arm and computer programs that will allow it to communicate with the drones.
Basically, the system will be a portable drone station, inventory, and maintenance hub. The patent also discusses the possibility of these mobile containers as a potential means to “forward-deploy inventory items.” The second car or container could carry items where “demand for such inventory items may be reasonably anticipated,” which would allow the company to shorten its delivery times.
These patents, as far-fetched as they might seem at the moment, are proof of how astonishingly ahead of their time companies like Amazon are, giving the world a glimpse into a future that commoners only dreamt of even a year back!