Drone-Delivery ‘Hive’ Coming to Amazon?

Amazon files a patent for multi-level fulfillment center for unmanned aerial vehicles.

Amazon Drone Hive
Amazon filed a patent for a "multi-level fulfillment center for unmanned aerial vehicles," or basically a drone hive.Amazon

Amazon has made the next leap toward a future reality in which drones drop recently-ordered goodies off in your yard, filing a patent for a “multi-level fulfillment center for unmanned aerial vehicles” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent filing emerged on June 22.

"A multi-level (ML) fulfillment center is designed to accommodate landing and takeoff of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), possibly in an urban setting, such as in a densely populated area," the patent explained. "Unlike traditional fulfillment centers, the ML fulfillment centers may include many levels (i.e., stories, floors, etc.) as permitted under zoning regulations for respective areas. The fulfillment center may have one or more landing locations and one or more deployment locations to accommodate UAVs, which may deliver at least some of the items from the fulfillment center to locations associated with customers."

Amazon Drone Hive
Amazon's multi-level fulfillment centers will be built in densely-populated areas and include many levels, stories, or floors for UAV landing access.Amazon

Amazon is moving early on filing a patent for the idea of a fulfillment center, and while the online retail giant may have worked out the logistics for shipping, it’ll be waiting for battery technology and drone sophistication to catch up. Amazon will also have to work with the FAA and local governments to tackle the issue of delivering goods by drone.

Within the last month we've seen FAA's forced registering of UAVs overturned and two bills introduced into congress: the Drone Innovation Act and the Drone Federalism Act, both of which seek to have local and state governments regulate drone use under 200 feet, a potential stumbling block to the drone delivery concept.

Whatever the case, Amazon is certainly doing its part to push this growing industry forward.