U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
A sketch of Amazon's patented floating warehouse in the sky.

Amazon receives patent for floating warehouses

Sept. 5, 2018
Amazon has received a patent for distribution warehouses that float in the sky.

Amazon has received a patent for distribution warehouses that float in the sky.

The “aerial fulfillment centers” (AFCs) would be held aloft by blimps. They are part of a plan to shift more deliveries to drones from ground-based transportation.

“An AFC may be positioned at an altitude above a metropolitan area and be designed to maintain an inventory of items that may be purchased by a user and delivered to the user by a UAV that is deployed from the AFC,” according to a patent document.

As part of the plan, Amazon has patented a system that would reduce the hazard of falling debris in the event of a malfunctioning drone. Additionally, the blimps will float because they contain a lighter-than-air gas such as helium, Amazon said.

The patent, issued in late August, was first reported by MyAJC.

Meanwhile, Walmart on Aug. 30 applied for a patent for a system that allows autonomous electronic devices such as drones to communicate with each other wirelessly. The devices would then be able to transport objects securely using blockchain technology.

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