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By Sarah Ward
December 31, 2016
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By Sarah Ward
December 31, 2016
  shares

Keep watching the skies, folks — drones are a-coming. They can ferry sushi, burgers, slurpees and pizza to your face. They can help you take killer selfies and spirit you away to places you can't get to. And, with Amazon and Australia Post among the companies trying to integrate them into their businesses, they're also shaping up to become the parcel delivery mechanism of the future.

In Amazon's case, they want to take things a step further. From offering one-hour booze delivery to making the jump from their massive online operations to opening bricks-and-mortar stores — with their supermarkets rumoured to be headed to Australia — they're not known for doing things by halves, after all. After successfully completing their first fully autonomous drone delivery on December 7, 2016, they're thinking about where they're deploying their flying robotic helpers from.

That's why they've filed a patent for flying warehouses that will house and dispatch drones. Known as "airborne fulfilment centres" or AFCs, and covered in an application first lodged in 2014, the vessels in question are zeppelin-like airships that will house a contingent of stock. From there, drones that can reach altitudes of 14,000 metres will glide down to deliver the goods in question to their intended destination. And to keep the AFCs' shelves filled and ready to go, shuttles will bring supplies, drones and possibly even people up from the ground below. Yep, some actual humans will probably need to work in the sky to help things run smoothly.

Festivals and sporting events, aka activities that usually filled with people wanting to buy things but don't always boast the best access, were mentioned as potential sites for Amazon's AFC-dispatched drone deliveries. Sure, it's just an idea in a patent application for now, but keep watching this space (and the space above your head, of course).

Via Tech Crunch /  Dezeen.

Published on December 31, 2016 by Sarah Ward

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