In additional drone news, Amazon has received a patent for its design for docking stations that it hopes someday to install on electric posts, cell towers, buildings, and other tall structures, where its army of delivery drones can rest en route to their destinations. Although the technology covered by the patent is still mostly theoretical, the idea is that in the future, when Amazon relies on drones for most deliveries, those machines will need places to recharge. The efficiency benefits promised by drones would disappear if they could not fly long distances and instead required Amazon to build distribution centers throughout the country. In addition, the docking stations might provide a sort of mini-distribution center themselves, where if needed, local drivers could gather products for the last leg of the trip. In the patent, the docking stations possess communication capabilities as well, such that drones could “learn” from the interconnected stations whether they might be flying toward bad weather and where different machines are located. Even as the FAA continues to express caution about approving any of Amazon’s drone-based plans, the retailer continues to proceed with new ideas to support them, if they ever are allowed to enter our skies.
Source: Arjun Kharpal, CNBC, July 19, 2016