RSS feed Get our RSS feed

News by Topic

BizReport : Ecommerce archives : January 04, 2017

Amazon looks to the sky for new fulfillment centers

There has been some serious blue sky thinking going on in the boardrooms of Amazon, especially considering their new project - a floating warehouse.

by Helen Leggatt

A floating warehouse that sits thousands of feet in the air from which Amazon can dispatch hoards of delivery drones, is another of the ecommerce giant's futuristic plans. A patent has been filed by Amazon for "airborne fulfillment centers" or "AFC" to float 45,000 feet in the air, suspended by cables and stocked with their most popular items.

According to the patent, filed in 2014, "This disclosure describes systems and methods for utilizing an aerial fulfillment center ("AFC") and unmanned aerial vehicles ("UAV") to facilitate delivery of ordered items to users. An AFC may be a fulfillment center that is supported by and/or incorporated into an airship. An airship, or dirigible, is a type of aerostat or lighter-than-air aircraft which can navigate through the air under its own power. Airships gain their lift from gas that is less dense than the surrounding air, such as helium or hot air".

In what sounds like something out of a steampunk novel, centers would be manned by Amazon employees and docked where Amazon thinks demand for certain goods would be highest. The patent also allows for a fleet of smaller airships that would shuttle staff to and from the mothership.

Amazon has already put in motion its plan to use drones with a trial recently conducted in Cambridge, UK. The trial involved just two customers, both living close to Amazon's Prime Air fulfillment center. One of the drone deliveries dropped off a Fire TV streaming device and a bag of popcorn to a trialist just 13 minutes after receiving the online order.

Tags: drones, ecommerce, fulfillment, trends

Subscribe to BizReport



Copyright © 1999- BizReport. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of BizReport content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
BizReport shall not be liable for any errors in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.