Amazon conducted its first drone delivery earlier this month. But it's apparently already planning ahead for when a drop by drone is Amazon's go-to delivery method.
This is Amazon's concept for an "airborne fulfillment center." Think of it as a warehouse way up in the sky.
According to the patent application, the fulfillment center would house items available for purchase on the website. Drones carrying orders would be deployed from the center. Once the drones made their deliveries, they'd then fly to a location to be sent back to the airborne center.
RELATED: 14 Amazon shopping hacks
14 Amazon shopping hacks
14 Amazon shopping hacks
1. Cash in Those Gift Cards
You probably have Visa or MasterCard gift cards laying around with balances too low to shop with. Instead of leaving them in a drawer, transfer the balances (50 cents or above) to Amazon. It’s a wee bit tricky, but here’s how to do it: Proceed as if you were buying an Amazon gift card (or click on “Reload Your Balance”), choose “enter amount” instead of clicking on one of the set quantity boxes, and enter the gift card account number as the payment method. Bingo — you now have Amazon credit to shop with.
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
3. Don’t Ignore Warehouse Deals …
If you turn up your nose at the open-box and pre-owned items in Amazon’s Warehouse Deals section, you may be missing out on a great bargain. The discounts can be substantial, and you have 30 days to decide whether what you’ve received is a keeper.
(Sandia/Science Source via Getty Images)
4. … or Amazon’s Outlet
The Outlet is kind of like the clearance rack in your favorite store. It’s hit or miss, but these are items that Amazon is trying to clear out, so the discounts can be great (from 20% to 80%).
5. Enroll in Prime Student
If you’re in school, enjoy free two-day shipping for six months through the Prime Student program. If you want all the other benefits that come with Prime, you can then snag a Prime membership for 50% off after a six-month trial period.
(PeopleImages.com via Getty Images)
6. Give to Charity
Why not give back while you shop? Courtesy of AmazonSmile, 0.5% of eligible Amazon Prime purchases can be donated to the participating charity or school of your choice.
(Peter Dazeley via Getty Images)
7. Fill ‘Er Up
If you are not a Prime member, sometimes it’s a challenge to get your order to that $35 free shipping threshold without going way over. The Filler Item finder provides low-cost suggestions to help you get there.
(Emmanuel Faure via Getty Images)
8. Hold Onto Damaged Merchandise
If something you’ve ordered arrives in less-than-perfect condition, Amazon will replace it through their Online Returns Center and may not require you to send it back, especially if it’s inexpensive. And if the item is salvageable, you’ve scored! Let’s say you receive a bottle of household cleaner with a faulty pump. You can just hang on to it and switch the pump once you’ve finished the replacement.
(Jan Stromme via Getty Images)
9. Join Amazon Family
Expecting moms and parents who are also Amazon Prime members can get 20% off Subscribe & Save diapers with the Amazon Family program. There’s also a 15% discount on all baby registry gifts within 60 days of your due date.
(monkeybusinessimages via Getty Images)
10. Take Advantage of Late Deliveries
You usually get your packages on time with your Prime Membership, but if there’s a time that you don’t, let them know. It’s very likely they will offer you something, like a credit to your account or an extension of your Prime membership.
(Reza Estakhrian via Getty Images)
11. Try Subscribe & Save
Subscribe & Save users can receive up to 15% off their items and free shipping. I use Subscribe & Save for my toilet paper, paper towels and a few different vitamins, and the price is definitely right. Before subscribing, do your homework and compare prices with your price club and grocery/drug stores. I like how you can specify when you want items to ship, so your essentials arrive right when you need them. One less thing to think about!
(AsiaPix via Getty Images)
12. Use Promo Codes & Coupons
Amazon does promo codes and coupons too. If you’re shopping for groceries on Amazon, be on the lookout for coupons and codes that can be applied to your purchase. They are typically on the main product page, and once you’ve clicked on them, they will appear in your cart.
(Jill Fromer via Getty Images)
13. Save an Extra 5%
You may not feel like you need another credit card — and you may not — but with the Amazon Store Card, Prime Members can get 5% back on all purchases. Like other store cards, the annual percentage rate (APR) is not fabulous, so if you go for this card, plan to pay it off every month. Otherwise, the 5% reward will be meaningless.
You may have noticed that Amazon has pretty fluid pricing. If you see that something you purchased sold by Amazon LLC has dropped in price, Amazon will usually honor the lower price by giving you a credit or gift card. Live chat seems to be a reliable way to get this done. A good way to keep track of Amazon pricing in general is with CamelCamelCamel price tracker.
(Blend Images - Peter Dressel via Getty Images)
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
The patent application says using an airborne fulfillment center and drones to deliver items would use less power than if a drone were to be deployed from a facility on the ground.
Smaller shuttles would deliver the drones, items to restock the warehouse and employees to the aerial fulfillment center.
While Amazon is continuing to expand the number of traditional brick and mortar fulfillment centers, an aerial facility would allow the company to shift the warehouse's location based on weather or demand.
Amazon hasn't been able to deliver by drone in the U.S. because of current Federal Aviation Administration restrictions. And even if Amazon was allowed to deliver by drone in the U.S., it would still need to get the airborne fulfillment center concept, technology and construction off the ground, so to speak.