Amazon has big plans for its much talked about ‘Prime Air’ drone delivery system. The company has recently filed a patent, published 22nd June, proposing the creation of nine-storey high, cylindrical drone depots in cities “around the world”. The beehive-like depots would allow for the housing and recharging of Amazon delivery drones, which would then be perfectly placed to reach customers in minutes.
The patent application suggests that depots would work via a “central command”, similar to those found at airports. Drones would be restocked by human workers and moved around the centre by an “internal transport robot”, to be dispatched as required. There is also mention of a potential self-service area where customers could collect their own goods. Images in the proposal suggest a futuristic vision that many, including Amazon, are saying will become a reality sooner than we may think.
Reports shared in various publications December 2016 appeared to confirm a successful UK drone Prime Air delivery from Amazon in the Cambridge area last year. No press were invited to witness the trial run but Jeff Bezos (founder, chairman and chief executive of Amazon) tweeted the following message at the time: “First-ever #AmazonPrimeAir customer delivery is in the books. 13 min—click to delivery. Check out the video: http://amzn.to/primeair”
Amazon currently has over a dozen ‘fulfilment centres’ in the UK where they currently store, sort and ship millions of packages from each year. The proposed new multi-level drone depots are designed for optimum efficiency. The patent explains that “unlike traditional fulfilment centres, the ‘ML’ fulfilment centres may include many levels (i.e., stories, floors etc.) as permitted under zoning regulations for respective areas. The fulfilment centre may have one or more landing location and one or more deployment location to accommodate UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles]”.
There have also been proposals for airborne centres – flying ‘mothership’ bases that may resemble Zeppelins!
For more traditional use of UAVs, for aerial filming, surveying (viewable live) and aerial photography, use our drone services.