Amazon May or May Not Be Building a Floating Warehouse

Company receives patent for 'airborne fulfillment center'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2016 6:24 PM CST

(Newser) – Amazon has received a patent for what one tech analyst calls the "Death Star of e-commerce": a floating warehouse hovering more than 8 miles above the ground and "spitting out delivery drones." The "airborne fulfillment center" could station itself above an event, such as a sports game, so attendees could order food, souvenirs, etc. and have them delivered quickly, USA Today reports. Meanwhile, shuttles could deliver goods and employees to the flying warehouse.

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The goal of the airborne fulfillment center—held aloft by "helium or hot air"—is to reduce the time and energy it takes to make deliveries, Gizmodo reports. The patent claims delivery drones would save energy by using gravity to take them to their destinations. But Amazon hasn't even gotten FAA approval for delivery drones, let alone a massive floating warehouse. Gizmodo calls the idea "utterly ludicrous" and says it "looks like a total disaster." Meanwhile, the BBC notes that many patents filed by companies never actually become a reality. (An Apple phone patent has a throwback feel to it.)

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