Amazon Wants To Use Shipping Containers As Mobile Drone Bases

first_imgStay on target It’s no secret that Amazon is building a delivery drone army of epic proportions. They want to be able to launch them from anywhere: lamp posts, cell towers… and even moving trains.Just as the calendar rolled over from July to August, Amazon was awarded a patent for “Ground-based mobile maintenance facilities for unmanned aerial vehicles.” While the title focuses on maintenance, the patent itself provides additional insight into Amazon’s drone-assisted future.It’s all about intermodal transport — where shipping containers are moved between, say, a cargo ship and a train. Amazon figures the containers shouldn’t just big a big box that holds goods awaiting delivery to its customers. They should also bring along a drone that can drop those items by our front doors.These mobile drone stations could take care of scheduled deliveries for Amazon, too, based on descriptions in the patent. For example, if Amazon tends to see a huge spike in orders for a specific type of cat food in West Seattle on the third Wednesday of every month, they can plunk a container on a truck, roll it out, and let its onboard drones automatically tackle drop-offs.Hard-working drones need a little TLC from time to time, of course. Amazon also believes that containers provide a convenient space for on-the-go repairs. Things like motors, props, battery packs, and sensors may need to be replaced periodically. Amazon wants to tuck an automated system tucked into a shipping container to handle those chores, like so:Just like the delivery drones, these repair cars could be automatically routed to areas where Amazon knows there’s demand. If a group of drones is due for its regular tune-up (or if there was a rash of vandalism, hail damage, etc.), Amazon could send out the repair car to fix them up.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. This Robot Is Equal Parts Lawnmower and Snow BlowerWatch: Drone Captures Incredible View of Sheep on Colorado Peak last_img read more

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