Amazon gets US patent for beehive-style delivery drone hubs

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The ever more surreal world of Amazon drones for delivery has a new facet. Amazon has received a US patent for special hub for the drones that resembles a beehive. From such a hub the drones could collect despatches, refuel and roost. See above for a notion. Find the full patent submission here.

Have a look at the image for scale. Trucks will delivery supplies to the towers, which could be 9 stories high, and they suggest they’ll be in prime central urban locations. The patent application calls them “multi-level fulfillment centers”. The payloads would be small parcels that can be delivered within 30 minutes for Amazon Prime Air.

City locations are convenient, as the application notes: “By locating the fulfillment centers within the cities, items may be more quickly delivered to the growing population of people that live in the cities, as well as the large population of people who work in the cities.”

The towers will also serve as command and control centres for the drones, broadcasting instructions and flight plans for the automated crafts.

Is the delivery drone really a serious proposition any time soon? It is easy to mock (and we have) but Amazon does seem to be investing great effort and money into developing the proposition. Some sceptics say the idea is as much about getting copious free publicity as it is about innovation. Who knows? We think they may actually be serious. Which is perhaps more worrying than a publicity stunt.

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