Amazon recently had a patent (originally filed in December 2015) published for what is described on the patent application as a “multi-level fulfillment center for unmanned aerial vehicles”.
Due to the large size of traditional fulfilment centres (where goods are received, packaged and orders are shipped) they are usually located outside of cities but this can increase transit time of goods to city locations. Amazon’s latest patent however would overcome this issue as the patented multi-level drone fulfilment centre is a vertical rather than horizontal structure resembling a beehive (see image below) meaning the centres could be located within cities, thus reducing delivery time. The aim of this new patented design for beehive-like towers would to act as a take off and landing facility for Amazon’s delivery drones.
Although the filing of a patent does not guarantee Amazon will actually use this patented fulfilment centre design for drone delivery in the near future it does indicate the direction of technology travel.
You can read more about this patent application here: http://bit.ly/2smzL9Y
Amazon has had plans for using a drone delivery service (called Prime Air) since 2013 and the company made their first drone delivery in 2016.