Amazon has presented a few weird ideas for delivery and its latest, a skyscraper beehive filled with drones, is no exception. The patent application is another look at how Amazon plans to integrate drones and improve ‘last mile’ delivery.
Most of Amazon’s warehouses are located on the outskirts of cities and it would take too long for a drone to reach the city center before needing a refuel. The beehive removes this problem by placing the drones in the city, reducing the overall distance to customers.
Sketches of the beehive interior show how this would work. Trucks supply the beehive with goods on the ground level, then workers move the products to the appropriate level. Once a customer purchases a product, it is then lifted onto the drone.
Having the drones in the center of a city would improve the speed of delivery, says Amazon, and would also reduce the amount of drones flying at pedestrian level. Drones would only need to lower to that level when arriving at the customer’s home.
The beehive idea comes alongside some general improvements that Amazon has cooked up for drones to be less noisy and less likely to fall on someone’s head. While both are patents, like the beehive, the rotor and motor changes are more likely to be implemented, at least in one form or another, over the coming years.
It is not Amazon’s first stab at bringing drones to cities, the last involved a zeppelin flying over the city, with drones being sent from the mothership to deliver packages. Both ideas are still just ideas however, and even if the patent is given it doesn’t mean the company will go ahead with the zeppelin or beehive project.