ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA — Amazon has filed a patent for a self-driving airship that can store inventory and be used as a base to launch delivery drones.
Amazon’s airborne fulfillment centers would hover at an altitude of 45,000 feet and be the focal point of a network of unmanned aerial vehicles.
The patent for the airship was filed in 2014 but only came to light last week, when it was uncovered by Zoe Leavitt, an analyst at technology research company CB Insights, Reuters reported.
The self-driving airships would carry a cargo of Amazon products and unmanned drones to deliver goods to customers.
The drones could navigate horizontally to their destination and would use little to no power, according to the patent.
The airships would be replenished by smaller, unmanned service vehicles, which could carry workers, drones, fuel, and inventory.
One potential use of the airships could be at big events, such as concerts or football games, where they could be used to deliver souvenirs, or food.
Amazon has successfully tested deliveries by drone in the UK and is waiting for federal approval to roll out the service in the United States, USA Today reported.