Will drones be dropping from flying warehouses?

Delivery via airship
This diagram shows an airship-style aerial fulfillment center dropping drones to make deliveries. After each delivery, the drones fly off and are collected for the return trip to the blimp via a replenishment shuttle. (Amazon Illustration via USPTO)

Some patents seem so way out that you have to wonder if they’re a joke. Such is the case for Amazon’s patent covering an “airborne fulfillment center” that would launch drones to deliver merchandise from above.

The patent, which was granted in April, came to light this week in the wake of yet another patented Amazon scheme to ward off hackers as well as bow-and-arrow attacks.

“I just unearthed the Death Star of e-commerce,” Zoe Leavitt, a tech analyst for CB Insights, declared Dec. 28 in a tweet.

Hilarity ensued.

The scheme calls for having an airship hover over the intended delivery area at an altitude of 45,000 feet, stocked with goodies that can be loaded aboard drones when an order is made.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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