Blog: Toby Cruse: Amazon’s ‘Death Star’ to Take the Skies
Currently, if you want a package delivered from the Amazon’s airborne courier system in the UK, you need to have a large garden live near an Amazon delivery depot and want a very light package, but that’s looking to change.
The service, known as Prime Air, made its first successful touchdown in December, taking just 13 minutes between placing the order and arriving in the user’s back garden just outside of Cambridge.
While the online commercial giant has barely left the ground yet, plans have already been put forward to take the company to greater heights.
— Zoe Leavitt (@zoe_leavitt) December 28, 2016
Discovered by CB Insight’s Zoe Leavitt, the new patents reveal ‘airborne warehouses’ designed to hang in the sky at 45,000 ft.
Described by Leavitt as Amazon’s very own “Death Star,” the patents also seemingly show designs of multi-purpose docking stations that could be built onto lamp posts, as well as buildings and other structures.
Using communication links known as a ‘Mesh Network,’ the drones will be able to transmit data between each other to send alerts of their environments.
Factors from how clear the weather is to the distance of a customer are hoped to be tackled by these airships, or “airborne fulfilment centres,” which would be able to travel to calmer climates as well as to hotspots where the service is in more greater demand.
The UK laws on drone piloting are continuing to evolve as they become more and more popular, but they currently do not allow for flying over or within 150m of congested areas, or within 50m of any vessel, structure or vehicle not controlled by the pilot.
— CB Insights (@CBinsights) December 29, 2016
However, even with these laws the UK is considered much more lenient than many countries. American drone users, for example, required a licence and a special waiver from the Federal Aviation Authority until August last year.
So far the Prime Air sounds very compelling for the 2 customers close enough to an Amazon warehouse to be viable, especially since the service doesn’t cost any more than the customers are already paying, but whether or not your orders are going to be sent to you gift-wrapped from the clouds in the near future is still up in the air.