Amazon Going SpaceX, Unveils Ambitious Moonshot Drone Delivery Project -- Airborne Mega DroneBy Erwin Castro, UniversityHerald Reporter
Cloud computing and e-commerce giant Amazon seems to be everywhere. After the massive smart home invasion at CES 2017 event, now comes its latest moonshot project -- the Airborne Mega Drone. Amazon's latest filed patent shows a blimp hovering at high altitude that would serve as a docking station for huge numbers of smaller drones that will be used to deliver packages to homes.
According to The Sun, Amazon is currently busy developing some sort of UAV that made up of several smaller flying machines. Recently, the cloud computing behemoth has been granted a patent for a "collective unmanned vehicle configuration" that's designed to carry payloads for large distances.
Amazon Gets The Green Light For Its Patent For Drone-Delivery Platform
According to Patent Yogi, the Amazon patent has been described as an 'Airborne Fulfillment Centers' that could remain at high altitude. It could go around 45,000 feet and use numerous smaller drones to deliver any package size to homes below. Inside this, the Amazon's airship are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs; or drones) that could be used to deliver packages from Amazon's warehouse to its customers.
The Amazon patent -- filed on Feb. 19, 2015 and granted Dec. 29, 2016 -- features some sort of individual modules that can be detached from the collective aerial drone body and operate independently to deliver packages. Amazon said that the planned UAV or drone could carry about 10 pounds of payload and stay aloft for around 30 minutes.
According to Amazon, a group of drones might outperform a single large drone by sharing key resources, such as information and navigation capabilities. Amazon hopes that allowing these drones to join and work together will allow them to operate more efficiently
Amazon also added that the size of a linked drone array would be more visible to everyone, allowing nearby aircraft and air traffic controllers to spot them more easily and prevent an aerial collision.
Amazon Drone To Reduce Shipping And Fulfilment Costs
Amazon has been looking for better ways to reduce its shipping and fulfillment expenses. The retail giant has gone from relying solely on UPS and Fedex to adding its own delivery trucks and even own delivery drone, the Amazon Prime Air. With the addition of the 'Airborne Fulfilment Centers', Amazon might now able to reduce shipping costs and generate more operating cash flow to invest in still more promising projects.
Earlier this month, Amazon announced that it had made its first successful drone delivery, shipping a small parcel to a customer. A delivery platform like drone may not be landing on customers' doorsteps yet, but Amazon's latest patents suggest that the e-commerce giant has much bigger and more effective plans for the future of automated airborne delivery platform.
However, at this time, point, that drone moonshot project remains to be seen whether the company will be able to get this technology off the ground or not.