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You are here: Home / Innovation / Amazon's Ambitious Delivery Patents
A Look at Amazon's Most Ambitious, Astonishing Delivery Patents
A Look at Amazon's Most Ambitious, Astonishing Delivery Patents
By April Glaser Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus

Over the past year, Amazon has been on a drone and transportation patent spree as the online retail giant continues to make moves toward becoming its own delivery service.

In mid-December, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos [pictured above] shared a video of a successful fulfillment of an Amazon order delivered via drone. In August, Amazon unveiled its own airplanes. The year before, the company purchased a fleet of trucks.

Since launching its two-day and same-day delivery services, Amazon's shipping costs have skyrocketed. According to the company's last quarterly report, which ended in September, its shipping expenses are up 43 percent from the same time the year before; Amazon spent $3.9 billion on shipping in its last reported quarter.

Here are some flying-, driving- and tunneling-related patents Amazon has been awarded in the past year alone.

Floating Warehouses

Amazon won a patent for its design of floating fulfillment centers for its drones to collect packages to deliver to people on the ground below. The airborne warehouses would float some 45,000 feet in the air and be recharged and restocked using smaller aircraft that shuttle to the dirigible. The patent was awarded in December 2016.

Highway Networks for Self-Driving Trucks

Earlier this month, the company was awarded a patent for a network to communicate with self-driving vehicles about changes in traffic patterns, like when a highway uses reversible lanes that can be relabeled to go in either direction or when vehicles cross state lines with new traffic laws and restrictions.

A Voice-Controlled Drone that Can Fit in Your Pocket

The company designed a personal voice-controlled drone - imagine an Echo with a propeller. In its October 2016 filing, Amazon suggested the drone could be used to replace dashboard-mounted cameras in police cars or be used to help find lost cars in parking lots. The drone is pictured as small enough to perch on a police officer's shoulder.

A Drone that Can Land on a Truck

Amazon won a patent in September for a system that would allow drones to land on and hitch a ride on a truck. The idea is twofold: The drone can save energy by riding on the truck for as far as it makes sense to do so, and to provide the aircraft a safe place to land in case its power gets low or it malfunctions.

A Network of Tunnels To Deliver Packages Underground

In one of the company's more ambitious patents, Amazon proposed a subterranean tunnel system to deliver orders through conveyor belts, rail or pneumatic tubes that would be able to bypass congestion on roadways. The underground delivery tunnels could connect airports to fulfillment centers, or even route directly to someone's house. The patent was awarded in November of last year.

Aerial Drone Recharging Stations on Street Lights

Amazon filed a patent for drone docking stations where an aircraft can safely land to get help if the weather conditions are too rough or if a drone needs to recharge its battery or receive new directions. The patent, awarded July 2016, envisions these docking stations could be built on existing electrical or phone poles or street lights.

Drones that Can Assemble To Carry Large Packages

For packages that are too big for a single quadcopter drone to carry, Amazon patented a collective unmanned aircraft configuration that describes how multiple drones can assemble, link together and share the load. Awarded at the end of last year, the patent explains how drones can connect to share battery power or operating instructions, or even fly collectively to a common point before breaking apart to make individual deliveries.

© 2017 Re/Code under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media. All rights reserved.
Tell Us What You Think


Lars D. Roose:
Posted: 2017-04-07 @ 5:04am PT
Hello, please kindly graciously get the message to Mr. Bezos that I am an inventor, and hold two U.S. Patents on shock-absorbing for packaging of delicate, expensive, fragile items with simple rubber band between inside- and outside- boxes, at each of 8 corners. When you close the flaps to a box, notice a hole is produced at each corner; stick the anchored shaft w/hook at other end out of inner box @ each corner, then pack fragile cargo into inner box, seal up, slide 8 outer anchored hooked plastic/elastomeric shafts thru the 8 outer-box corners, place inner-box into outer-box, hook up all adacent corners between the boxes with a rubber band. @ 8 places.

This will not only bring better service to Amazon's customers, especially with drone & parachute deliveries, but in massive delivery numbers, the insurance savings will make stockholders happy too.

I already have two other "over my head, but i'll get there somehow" inventions needing my full attention. One is a new election system for national security and (R)efranchisement of how voters feel. So many obstacles in everything - but, the good news is, my other monster project is to bring back my music keyboard synth frmo the 1980s. People run for elective offices promising jobs, when whole new industries are overlooked, and music is good for your health, and keeps kids off the streets more.

Anyhow, I'd appreciate anyone who knows how to get this to Jeff Bezos may give him just what he was looking for for his drone and parachute delivery super shock box(es). Thanks very very much.

Posted: 2017-02-03 @ 7:01am PT
Amazon should continue with its flying-, driving- and tunneling-related patents, if that means better fulfillment services and more happy customers.

Posted: 2017-02-02 @ 9:53am PT
Let's get it going now, please.

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