Amazon filed a patent stating the company’s outline for the huge project targeted for vertical drone delivery destined for urban centres. The company’s vision of a tall delivery hive would house drones, and these tall, multilevel cylinders would receive truck freight at ground level. Robots would then load up the delivery drones that would leave the hive, and return again through dozens of windows lined up at the sides of the cylinder.
Amazon has reached world class online shopping and their vast order fulfilment centres are already otherworldly. The company has even started to expand their business into delivering groceries and fresh food, so their logistic intelligence must be kept fast and accurate, as well as to have space to keep everything in. The problem is that their massive warehouses are normally located on the outskirts of cities, making drone delivery a timeliness problem.
The patent published just yesterday, will give us a small peek at a potential solution to their problems and could become the most common sight in cities in the coming years.
The huge cylindrical building dedicated for Amazon’s delivery unmanned vehicles looks like a tall hive, with large truck bays lines all around it at ground level to accept freight from major depots. Dozens and dozens of window are dotted along the walls that serve as an entry and exit bay for drones, like bees coming in and out of hives.
Each window is secured in its own right, and will only open to accept authenticated drones, but it’s still unclear how Amazon would deal with unauthorized drones from flying into the windows. It’s also unclear what benefit you would gain from having your drone flying into the hive and having the door close behind it though. The launching and landing bays also have the ability to throw the drones outward like a catapult rather than having them take off vertically by themselves.
What’s going to amaze you is what is inside the hive. There are tons of robots tasked with loading and charging the drones before and after deliveries, as well as replacing batteries or moving them around if necessary. There are also vertical corridors and some kind of lift assist system that allow the drones to move between levels.
The entire upper section of the building would be arranged in a hub configuration, with the whole building specially designed to present the maximum possible number of approach and departure slots.
Regarding the management of the swarms of UAVs as they enter and leave the building, a flight control system would be responsible to do so. The patent also stated the potentially prioritizing the bays toward the top of the building to keep the buzzing noise of drone props to a minimum at the ground levels so that it doesn’t disturb and annoy locals.