Amazon’s has made a patent application for a huge beehive-like multi storey tower that would act as a parking hub for a gigantic swarm of delivery drones.
The patent, which Amazon filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office and published on Thursday, is for what it calls a series of “multi-level fulfillment centres for unmanned aerial vehicles”.
Diagrams accompanying the patent show a tower that looks something like the lovechild of The Gherkin and a beehive, with drones circulating the structure like Amazon’s loyal worker bees.
Since Amazon is already trialing Prime Air drone delivery in parts of the world, as well as tinkering with the idea of sticking its airborne parcels in parachutes, it makes sense that Amazon intends its towers to act as giant parking spot for its next generation of delivery drones.
What’s more, given the tower block design of the beehive with a comparatively small footprint, Amazon says they’re perfect for plonking in the middle of crowded urban neighbourhoods, so it’s highly likely that an Amazon hive will pop up in your city in the not-too-distant future.
Amazon gives away a few clues in its description of the design of the drones themselves, describing “trailing edge fringes” that would attach to the drones’ blades to buffer the sound they make, along with “blade indentations for sound control”.
In case you’re concerned about being stung by a rogue Amazon drone, you can rest assured that Amazon is taking safety measures to make sure rogue drones don’t drop from the sky and thwack innocent bystanders on the head. Its patent application includes designs for drones that have multiple sets of rotors and motors in case one set does fail.
As will most patent applications, we’ll refrain from getting too excited just yet. But given Amazon has already put parcels in the sky in the past year, giant beehives for drones wouldn’t exactly the most outlandish concept to become a reality.