Amazon’s latest filing follows their proposal for flying warehouses and delivery drones.
Online retail giant Amazon has recently filed a patent setting out several ways items could be stored in, and retrieved from, underwater storage depots. The deposit methods include dropping packages from parachutes and trucks. Retrieval depends on a system of inflatables to bring items back to the surface.
Customers worried about receiving goods damaged by water need not worry, as all items stored underwater will be in watertight containers fitted with air canisters. Once an item is ordered by a customer, an underwater noise command will trigger an air canister to inflate a balloon and rise to the surface of the water. Delivery drivers, or in the future even drones, can then collect the items and deliver these to customers.
Amazon, which currently has numerous depots in countries all over the world, believes the concept of an underwater storage depot would save space and simplify the process of picking stock. Currently, and as stated in their patent, the process of retrieving stock ordered by customers is a complex logistical set-up which involves robots or staff having to travel several thousand feet just to complete one purchase. When customers order more than one item the delivery process becomes even more complicated. Amazon clearly hopes that, should its underwater storage plan come to fruition, it will help solve some of the logistic issues in their current mechanisms.
This is not the first time Amazon has filed an ambitious patent for storage facilities. Just last year, they filed a patent for plans to have storage depots carried by airships. These would be placed above cities, and drones would then fetch the items ordered by customers. It remains to be seen whether such pie-in-the-sky storage solutions will sink or swim, but Amazon’s patent filings clearly demonstrate a willingness to at least consider alternative solutions to their logistical problems.
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