A barrage of patent applications from e-commerce giant Amazon showcases a futuristic, hive-like drone-delivery tower fed by 18-wheelers and filled with robots. The patent bids also reveal the company’s possible solutions to two major drone problems: noise, and the possibility the aircraft could fall out of the sky.
It turns out that for Amazon, its current enormous warehouses — which it calls “fulfillment centers” — located on the outskirts of cities like Riverside are not ideal for serving the urban customers that make up a large portion of its market.
“There is a growing need and desire to locate fulfillment centers within cities, such as in downtown districts and densely populated parts of the cities,” said the patent application, made public June 22 by the U.S. patent agency, along with 10 other drone-related applications from Amazon.
“By locating the fulfillment centers within the cities, items may be more quickly delivered to the growing population of people that live in the cities, as…