International e-commerce giant Amazon has placed drones at the centre of its plans to streamline its warehouse operations.
Amazon has filed a patent request at the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a UAV specifically designed for use in its warehouses.
The disclosed unmanned aerial vehicle includes a buoyant airbag, a drive unit, a retention feature, and an on-board control module that can be configured to cause the drive unit to displace the UAV, cause the retention feature to retain one or more items for transport, and receive instructions to transfer items from one location to another.
The patent outlines that the UAV will be controlled to obtain an item at one location in a warehouse, such as a first floor, lift said item to a second location in the warehouse, such as a second floor, and deposit the item at the second location.
The company’s drone delivery branch, Amazon Prime Air, remains in development, with patents being lodged for a delivery UAV earlier this year.
Amazon Prime Air is reportedly poised to roll-out operations for routine delivery towards the end of next year.