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Seasteading Aficionado
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Amazon Is Considering Drone-Friendly Floating Warehouses

The e-commerce giant has been awarded a patent that describes a logistics technology it calls "airborne fulfillment center (AFC)." The AFC is essentially an airship that's capable of flying at altitudes of 45,000 feet or more that would house items the company sells through its online marketplace. In the patent, Amazon describes a method by which drones would fly into the warehouse, pick up the items they need to deliver, and then deliver those items to the customer's home.
This is exciting! Drone delivery in minutes for some locations?

http://fortune.com/2016/12/29/amazon-floating-warehouses/
 

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Ver2.0

"This is exciting! Drone delivery in minutes for some locations? "

Or a modern updated version of a South Georgia Dove shoot.
 

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Lawyer and Gun Activist
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There's no way that blimps floating in the sky could ever be economically viable as warehouses for deliveries .
Not without subsidies from some big federal agency or maybe a private intelligence gathering information bureau.
If we ever see zepplins floating around allegedly for Amazon deliveries, I think they're probably going to be doing double duty as spy ships and intelligence gathering posts-- watching the population from above.
And the gov. is going to be financing them.
 

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NRA Instructor
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There's no way that blimps floating in the sky could ever be economically viable as warehouses for deliveries .
Not without subsidies from some big federal agency or maybe a private intelligence gathering information bureau.
If we ever see zepplins floating around allegedly for Amazon deliveries, I think they're probably going to be doing double duty as spy ships and intelligence gathering posts-- watching the population from above.
And the gov. is going to be financing them.
I have some extra tin foil laying around if you need it. Your hat is apparently not thick enough./sarcasm

Seriously though that is a thought to ponder.

I can see the profit margins in shipping up charges for rapid response delivery on the other side of the coin as well. There are some of us idiots that would rather get the merchandise a day earlier by paying more than double and sometimes more than triple the regular rates to save a day of waiting. Stuff I can get from Amazon on prime with free shipping tomorrow can be had within a couple of hours for a $30 up charge on the shipping. I can order it today and most of the time within an hour a Uber driver will show up parcel in hand for only $30 shipping up charge. We haven't graced the inside of a grocery store in a couple of years due to Amazon having a lot of the things we use on same day delivery. Who wants to go out drive around a parking lot trying to find a place to park, grab a cart with wheels that don't roll properly and you have to fight it to keep it going straight, push the beast up and down the isles crowded with people, stand in line at the check out for another hour, fight the rolling beast out to your vehicle, unload it and then push it half a mile to a cart return? When you get out of the parking lot and get home you have to unload your vehicle and pack it all in the fridge and cupboards. For a few dollars more an Amazon Uber driver will deliver your groceries to your front door packed in PAPER bags and all you have to do is carry them in and put them away. In the end it didn't take 2 or 3 hours out of your life to get groceries. My time is money and the extra cost of Amazon is far less than the value I place on my time.

If they were not making money at this they would not still be doing it.
 

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ARE they "doing it" or just taking out a PATENT on it-- getting the rights to use this idea-- this business model-- for the future?
And blocking any of their competitors from doing it, years in the future?

Let's see if Amazon is actually going to develop this and put it to use in the real-world to make a profit.

REAL LIFE ANECDOTE:

A county here in the Atlanta area has a sign ordinance.
It generally bans electronic lighted signs that have a moving or blinking message.

But there are two exceptions, where such a sign could be allowed.

One is if the sign's message only changes once in a long time-- several minutes. So most people passing by the sign will see it only as a fixed-image sign.

The other exception is if THE SIGN OWNER LETS THE GOVERNMENT TAKE OVER THE SIGN AND USE IT TO PROMOTE THE GOVERNMENT'S MESSAGES related to public safety and such. Then, when you turn over control of your private property to the government, you can flash your messages more brightly or change the text more frequently. The government lets you do this all the time, not just on those rare occasions when it is co-opting your sign and making you play the government's broadcast.

SO, WITH THAT IN MIND, is it really hard to envision a situation where the government says "Amazon, your blimps cannot go over Area XX, or fly at any altitude other than YY, and your drones' flights must be limited to Z minutes, UNLESS..
... unless you agree to install some tracking programs, spy cameras, infrared or thermal imaging, etc. All of which we promise will only be used for public safety purposes-- in case the police get into a gunfight, in case a terrorist is on the run from the FBI, in case a truck bomb is headed to City Hall.. or any other situation that we deem sufficient to use your blimps for law enforcement purposes. But if you agree to share your equipment with us, you can have a much freeer hand to run your package-delivery operations how you see fit the rest of the time."
 

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So Amazon's blimp floating at 45,000 ft. (above most commercial air traffic) releases a package-laden delivery drone which will descend through the air traffic below to deliver the package. Following delivery the now empty drone, unable to ascend back to the mothership at 45,000 ft., will then return to somewhere else?

I think this patent is purely for publicity purposes.
 

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Yes I can see any and/or all of it taking place. It is a thought to ponder. I can also see it as a very profitable way to do the type of business Amazon does without assistance or subsidies. It would be like hiring Uber drivers that you don't have to pay. Amazon doesn't co-op with governments too well (yet).
 

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Why use drones?

Why not just attach a GPS-guiding tail fin set to the Amazon package and release it as a guided "bomb" to do an airburst above the target address?

The tail fins could also have a parachute, which would begin deploying at a few dozen meters above the customer's front yard, and the parachute would be fully open and slow the package to a gentle landing in its last few yards of travel.

Then, the customer just puts the used tail fin and parachute assembly in a pre-paid return envelope and lets the UPS/ U.S. Mail / Fed Ex delivery truck pick it up. No hurry getting it back to Amazon. The only rush is for the delivery, not the return of the delivery vehicle.
 

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Seasteading Aficionado
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
"This is exciting! Drone delivery in minutes for some locations? "

Or a modern updated version of a South Georgia Dove shoot.
Not many shotguns reaching up to 500 feet I don't think.
 

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Seasteading Aficionado
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
There's no way that blimps floating in the sky could ever be economically viable as warehouses for deliveries .
Not without subsidies from some big federal agency or maybe a private intelligence gathering information bureau.
If we ever see zepplins floating around allegedly for Amazon deliveries, I think they're probably going to be doing double duty as spy ships and intelligence gathering posts-- watching the population from above.
And the gov. is going to be financing them.
They already spy on us, at least big cities. This was proved years ago iirc. It's more for the back trace and current movement of high security risks, terrorist, or big time criminals.

If that was done, which is probable, it would be redundance, or expansion of any current programs.

I hadn't even thought about this yet, but thank you for the extra tin foil
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So Amazon's blimp floating at 45,000 ft. (above most commercial air traffic) releases a package-laden delivery drone which will descend through the air traffic below to deliver the package. Following delivery the now empty drone, unable to ascend back to the mothership at 45,000 ft., will then return to somewhere else?

I think this patent is purely for publicity purposes.
It may be able to return or it could return to a holding/maintainence bin depending.
 

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Patents are now a complete joke as is the tame federal court in Marshall, TX where folks go to make and win bogus patent claims.

My cousin has many patents, mostly interesting oil field equipment innovations but he also has one on "basic distillation".

He has had it made into a metal type plaque and hangs on his office wall.

The patent office is a rubber stamp now that technology and biology have become far too complex for government workers to analyze.
The attitude is approve it and let 'em fight it out in court.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Patents are now a complete joke as is the tame federal court in Marshall, TX where folks go to make and win bogus patent claims.

My cousin has many patents, mostly interesting oil field equipment innovations but he also has one on "basic distillation".

He has had it made into a metal type plaque and hangs on his office wall.

The patent office is a rubber stamp now that technology and biology have become far too complex for government workers to analyze.
The attitude is approve it and let 'em fight it out in court.
This is all true, one filthy dirty capitalist I know made a great argument against the patent system, and to instead use your brain to keep innovating, and continue to get better and better and continue to outrun your competition. I tend to agree.
 

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And these floating warehouses are going to be manned or unmanned?
I would think manned but the info has not yet been released to confirm or deny. Even manned a crew of 8 to 10 could take the place of hundreds of Uber drivers that are on the streets every day. We have had 2 Uber drivers delivering Amazon stuff today. One was a load of dog food and the other groceries.
 

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I would think manned...
What's the probability of enticing workers to spend 8-12 hours a day 9 miles above the ground in a blimp? The pay and benefits would need to be outstanding for me to even consider it.
 

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8 to 10 hours X 10 employees (lets give an average of $30 per hour wages and benefits) = $300 per hour $2400 for 8 hours or
$3000 for 10 hours. This doesn't change much with a $40 per hour average.

If they only deliver 300 parcels per hour at $30 each this comes to $9000 per hour. Or $90,000 over a 10 hour period.

Even if you use an average wage of $50 per hour the profit margin is more than adequate to make the venture worthwhile. Start up cost could reasonable be recovered is as little as 5 to 10 years to put the program in the black.

All of the numbers above are mere speculation and do not reflect any real numbers since I made them up and do not have access to the real numbers. They are only used to demonstrate the monetary possibilities without outside assistance.
 

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Not many shotguns reaching up to 500 feet I don't think.
I just assumed the Drones would land somewhere to release their payload,which in theory would put them in range :)
 
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