While a warehouse that flies sounds unlikely, Amazon is trying to make this concept a reality.
Reports cane out this week that the US Patent Office earlier this year awarded Amazon a patent for an airborne fulfillment center (AFC) from which drones could launch to make local deliveries.
The AFC could sit at an altitude of about 45,000 feet, the patent explains, allowing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to be stocked and deployed as necessary, as reported by Stephanie Cordon on ZDnet.
"As the UAVs descend, they can navigate horizontally toward a user specified delivery location using little to no power, other than to stabilize the UAV and/or guide the direction of descent," the patent says. "Shuttles (smaller airships) may be used to replenish the AFC with inventory, UAVs, supplies, fuel, etc.
“Likewise, the shuttles may be utilized to transport workers to and from the AFC."
The warehouses would be stocked with a set amount of inventory and would be located near where Amazon thinks demand for certain items will skyrocket. From these points, drones could be sent to make local deliveries.
The airborne fulfillment center could be the next step in Amazon’s ambitious plans for a drone delivery system, according to TechCrunch. The online retailer also launched the first successful drone delivery earlier this month.