Our patents cruncher identified a fresh Amazon grant related to its Prime Air research. The patent describes a modular container that would serve as a mobile drone fulfillment and/or maintenance center, which could be hauled by locomotive, container ship, or truck. Check out the new grant and other Amazon drone warehouse patents here.
Ford and Daimler have already shown off other van-based drone carrier concepts. But Amazon’s patent description emphasizes how its carriers could be married to its vast trove of data and analytics. These vehicles could be assigned to patrol areas with high observed or predicted demand for particular goods, “forward-deploying” inventory for ease of delivery.
Some drone manufacturers, like Ehang, are also working on autonomous passenger drone concepts amid excitement over flying car startups. Daimler placed its own bet in the space with a $30M bet on Volocopter this week.
With AV upheaval on the horizon, automakers and their suppliers are no doubt on the front lines, a fact that has spurred a great deal of OEM anxiety (and motivated billions in capital by extension).
However, incumbents in other industries are also assessing autonomous R&D for impacts on their own fields; investors are also eager to capitalize on the new opportunities widespread autonomy will open. We took a look at 24 fields that driverless cars could upend, from retail and hospitality to law enforcement.