By land, air and by sea Amazon is looking to have mobile drone stations anywhere near a delivery might be. We know Amazon is heavily investing in drones to more efficiently deliver their packages, but how do you keep them charged up and in the air for as long as possible? In a patent filing published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office spotted by Business Insider: it appears Amazon is strongly considering creating a network of mobile merchandise and maintenance facilities utilizing trains, tractor trailer trucks, and boats.
According to the patent, this strategy would enable Amazon to move products to these mobile facilities that have shipping containers which could be carried by a variety of vehicles referred to in the patent description as “intermodal vehicles” for autonomous package delivery. The company would thereby be able to shift their fleet of mobile distribution centers where it anticipates high demand rapidly allowing Amazon to shorten its delivery times. The temperature controlled shipping containers loaded onto any of these mobile vehicles would consist of merchandise storage and a maintenance compartment equipped with a computer system that would allow the vehicles to communicate with the drones, extra batteries, and other parts to keep their fleet in the air delivering packages. Amazon files a lot of idea patents so there is no guarantee that this system will be put in place. But as this forward thinking company plans a drone-based infrastructure, a network of brick and mortar fulfillment facilities combined with a mobile maintenance fleet makes a lot of sense.