Amazon has made headlines over the past couple of years by patenting ambitious delivery options, many of which involve drones. In June, the retail giant filed a patent for a “multi-level fulfillment center for housing unmanned aerial vehicles,” which appears to be a tall building in the middle of an urban area that can charge and deploy delivery drones.
Apparently, this wasn’t ambitious enough for Amazon — yesterday the company secured a patent for flying warehouses. According to the patent, “the AFC may be an airship that remains at a high altitude (e.g., 45,000 feet) and UAVs with ordered items may be deployed from the AFC to deliver ordered items to user designated delivery locations.” The patent includes a diagram that shows what looks like a blimp with a hanging “package tray” representing the warehouse.
Amazon Technologies, Inc / USPTO
In a second patent, also secured yesterday, Amazon describes a messaging system in which a user would be able to purchase from an electronic marketplace, presumably Amazon.com. “Through the use of electronic messages, such as email, Short Message Service (SMS) text messages, and instant messages, or any other electronic message of the like, customers may shop for a multitude of items without extensive interaction with an electronic commerce system.”
“Need it. Text it. Get it.” Amazon’s patent is reminiscent of Jetblack, the Walmart-owned text-to-order shopping platform announced earlier this year. Similar to the patent, Jetblack does not have “extensive interaction with an electronic commerce system,” as the program recommends products to users based on preferences — and, of course, Amazon’s patent repeatedly mentions the recommendation of items. In contrast with Jetblack’s program, which connects users with a combination of AI and “professional buyers,” Amazon’s system appears to be mostly AI and algorithm-based.
While many patents never see the light of day, the two secured by Amazon yesterday show the company’s continued desire to reach customers quickly and easily, all while aggressively attempting to outshine competition.