How can companies like Amazon continue to satisfy our love affair with online shopping? The models displayed here are based on Amazon patent applications, which give us a glimpse into the company’s storage and delivery solutions of the future. One is an urban warehouse modelled after a beehive, designed as a vertical high-rise manned by people, robots and flying drones. Its many portals over multiple storeys allow delivery drones to fly in and out at a height that wouldn’t interfere with pedestrians in the city below. Another patent, for an underwater storage facility, would save Amazon the cost of investing in real estate. Instead, products would be stored under lakes or oceans, and could be summoned to the surface via acoustic cues in airtight ‘flexible bladders’. These patents illustrate how the need for maximum efficiency is also minimising the need for human labour in the workplaces of the present – and even more so in the future.
The Hive patent number:\ US 2017/0175413 A1\ Underwater Warehouse patent number:\ US 9,624,034 B1