Amazon’s most surreal warehouse patents

As the last blog posts of Belen and Lucas showed, the company Amazon is driving innovation forward in the logistic industry like no other company. In accordance with our last class about warehouse design, I was curious about what innovations might come in the next years and found some unbelievable patents of Amazon for new era warehouses.

As the chart above indicates, Amazon is obtaining hundreds of patents every year. By doing this they want to assure their position as a world leading online marketplace. In order to have the warehouses as near as possible to the customer, Amazon is looking up to the air and down to the ground to find new possibilities for warehousing in highly urbanized areas. Two of the patents that astonished me the most are listed beneath. More incredible patents can be found here.

An underwater Warehouse

Watery warehouses? Amazon's 'Aquatic Fulfillment Centers' could make it so  - GeekWire

The goods would be stored in watertight containers that have a fish-swim-bladder-like cartridge in order to control their height in the water. When a container needed to be retrieved, acoustic waves would be sent to it to activate the cartridge, which would send the package to the surface of the water. In the pool warehouses, boxes could be stacked in endless piles with no need for humans or robots to move around them and therefore no space for pathways between the boxes is needed. This would give a huge advantage in space usage in comparison to usual warehouses. [More Info]

The beehive-like Drone Tower

Amazon has applied to patent a beehive-like drone tower

Described as a “multi-level fulfillment center for unmanned aerial vehicles”, the tower would be particularly useful to Amazon in densely populated areas. Amazon is already testing the drones aka. bees that would be needed for this type of fulfillment centre, as we have seen in the last logistics class. The drones are able to fly at heights of 122 meters with a speed of 80 km/h and around 2.3 kg of cargo weight. Despite many regulatory issues that the towers would face, this could become reality much faster than we expected. [More Info]

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