Amazon Is Considering Drone-Friendly Floating Warehouses – Don Reisinger Updated: Dec 29, 2016 10:50 AM PST


Amazon might soon take flight in more ways than one.

The e-commerce giant has been awarded a patent that describes a logistics technology it calls “airborne fulfillment center (AFC).” The AFC is essentially in airship that’s capable of flying at altitudes of 45,000 feet or more that would house items the company sells through its online marketplace. In the patent, Amazon describes a method by which drones would fly into the warehouse, pick up the items they need to deliver, and then deliver those items to the customer’s home.

Amazon (amzn, -0.89%) filed for the patent in 2014. While it was actually awarded in April, it wasn’t discovered until Wednesday by CB Insights tech analyst Zoe Leavitt.

Over the last few years, Amazon has been working on drone technology through its Prime Air initiative with an aim on delivering products to customer homes without relying upon logistics companies to do it. Earlier this month, Amazon successfully completed its first drone delivery in the U.K. The company plans to expand its drone testing in 2017 in hopes of eventually relying on the unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver lightweight packages to homes.

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