Amazon’s aerial dreams aren’t limited to drone deliveries.
In April, Amazon was awarded a patent (unearthed by a CB Insights analyst on Dec. 28 ) for Zeppelin-like warehouses in the skies. Amazon wants to create an “airborne fulfillment center” (AFC) to hover at altitudes of around 45,000 feet and spit out delivery drones with customers’ orders.
The designs suggest that the AFC will either be supported by an airship or incorporated into one. “An airship, or dirigible, is a type of aerostat or lighter-than-air aircraft which can navigate through the air under its own power,” the patent explains. “Airships gain their lift from gas that is less dense than the surrounding air, such as helium or hot air.” Not being fixed on the ground like conventional distribution centers has its perks: The AFC can change locations depending on factors likes weather and expected or actual demand.
Earlier this month, Amazon tested its first drone delivery in the United Kingdom, dropping off an Amazon Fire