We’ve known about Amazon’s drone delivery ambitions since 2013. But patent filings from Amazon, circulated today by CB Insights’ Zoe Leavitt, reveal more details about how the e-commerce titan could make drone deliveries work at scale, namely through “airborne fulfillment centers.” Yes, that’s a warehouse in a zeppelin.
The airborne fulfillment centers, or AFCs, would be stocked with a certain amount of inventory and positioned near a location where Amazon predicts demand for certain items will soon spike.
Drones, including temperature-controlled models ideally suited for food delivery, could be stocked at the AFCs and sent down to make a precise, safe scheduled or on-demand delivery.
An example cited in the filing was around a sporting event. If there’s a big championship game down below, Amazon AFC’s above could be loaded with snacks and souvenirs sports fans crave.
The AFCs could be flown close to a stadium to deliver audio or outdoor display advertising near the main event, as well, the filing suggested.... ...MORE
Wonderful.Here's another Amazon patent via CB Insights:
Blimps circling overhead blasting advertising at the captive audience.
Amazon’s latest drone patent turns UAVs from passive delivery vehicles into objects that will now be able to talk to you. On August 29, the US Patent & Trademark Office approved Amazon’s February 2015 filing for “Speech Interaction For Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.”
As Amazon pushes its logistics capabilities ever further, drones have become central to its long-term vision. Recent patents show how the company is thinking about housing and transporting UAVs for Prime Air deliveries – storing them in beehive-shaped warehouses, blimps, and underwater facilities.
Patents have also revealed that Amazon’s drones will stalk residential residences for data that could later be used for sales purposes – giving Amazon the ability to recommend weed killers after its drones notice your overgrown garden, for example.
While the patent for a talking drone makes no mention of product recommendations or sales data, it describes how a drone could interact by speech with a package recipient. It also describes how a drone “may have one or more wireless network interfaces” for “communicating with a control center and/or with other UAVs.”...
*********...If Amazon’s drones can support speech and communication over “cellular, radio frequency (RF), Wi-Fi, or other suitable long-range wireless connection technologies” (all mentioned in the patent), it’s feasible that the same technological infrastructure could be linked to Alexa Voice Service – as well as to the drone-powered data collection and usage efforts Amazon patented in July 2015. The patent even mentions how a drone could be equipped with voice or facial recognition functions to determine or verify the identity of the individual prior to dropping the package.
In its primary use case, however, the talking drone isn’t Alexa-connected, or sales-oriented. Mainly, it’s a warning call.
The patent, which focuses entirely on package delivery, positions the talking drone invention mainly as a means for ensuring customers’ safety. It specifies that the drones will be able to “detect nearby people, animals, or other interactive objects” and produce speech “to warn or instruct” them....
Here are some links to some previous Amazon patent posts: