Amazon wins patent for flying warehouse to deploy delivery drones

Amazon has plans to use an air blimp as a flying warehouse to launch drones for delivery. The company has been awarded a patent for the flying warehouse which is described as an “airborne fulfillment center”.

The warehouse would float at an altitude of 45,000 and be stocked of products. The products would then be delivered via drone, potentially within minutes. When a customer orders a product, a drone, using little power, would glide down and fly to its destination.

“When the UAV departs the AFC, it may descend from the high altitude of the AFC using little or no power other than to guide the UAV towards its delivery destination and/or to stabilize the UAV as it descends,” the patent filing explains.

The airship would be refueled using a shuttle, so that means it would be constantly airborne.

While the patent may have gone through, getting permission will be complex and may take awhile for approval so we may not be seeing these anytime soon.


UPS Testing Drone Deliveries

UPS has started trials of deliveries using drones that deliver medical, emergency, items. UPS tested a delivery at Marblehead where a drone dropped a package at Children’s Island, running a scenario where a young child needed an asthma inhaler. The delivery took about 8 minutes for a 3 mile journey.

The company UPS has parented to work with is CyPhy Works, a Massachusetts based drone company. UPS has also invested in CyPhy.

The company is running trials currently, there’s no certain date in the future where these deliveries using drones would be used. Though we can see from the many companies that are testing drones, such as Domino’s, Wal-Mart, and Amazon, are finding unique ways to adapt to new technologies.


Meet Rotterdams newest Aqua Drones the Water Shark and AquasmartXL

Drones are made to just fly in the air, there are also others that are made to swim.

The Port of Rotterdam debuted their aquatic drones at the World Port Days conference. The first water drone, AquasmartXL, is planned to travel across the Port of Rotterdam and is equipped with a camera to send real time images for surveillance and inspection of infrastructure.

Another drone called the Waste Shark is used to remove up to 500 kilos of waste from the water, which is then processed. The Waste Shark, developed by RanMarine, will be used to clean up the Rotterdam docks. It has an open mouth that is located 35 centimeters below the water surface, which is used to take in more than a thousand pound of waste in the water. It can also gather data about water quality. For 6 months tests will be run using 4 Waste Sharks.

Domino’s to test drone delivery in New Zealand

Domino’s has partnered with Flirtey, a drone company, to launch a commercial drone delivery service in New Zealand.

Domino’s has been given permission by the New Zealand government to start a trial later this year. New aviation rules that came into effect on August 1st last year allow the use of drones or UAVs for recreational and commercial purposes.

The company will use drones to deliver pizzas in cases where its faster to deliver by drone than a ground vehicle and will only deliver around the distance of the store conducting the trial. “During the initial phases of the trial, our drones will operate at approximately 30km/h and at an initial radius of 1.5km from select stores. As we work with Flirtey to expand regulatory approvals, this radius will increase incrementally up to approximately 10km from select stores,” stated the company, according to a Q&A document.

The company stated the way the deliveries will work,”Initially, trained Domino’s team members will provide the customer and order information to Flirtey (including order composition, customer location and where relevant customer phone number), package the order, and then hand the package to Flirtey staff to load the drone. Once this is out of the trial phase and working, we will have trained drone specialist staff within each store.”

The company will offer specials for drone deliveries during the trial and gather data and customer feedback.

If the trial is successful the company plans to extend the delivery method to Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, and The Netherlands.