A design that appears to give credence to the assumption that current Whole Foods employees have a lot to worry about following Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of the grocery chain, the “multi-level fulfillment center” is a large beehive-like structure that can hold droves of drones.
Designed to “accommodate the landing and takeoff of unmanned aerial vehicles,” the center is made to function in the sticks or in “an urban setting, such as in a densely populated area.”
Amazon Patent (2 images)
Although the presence of trucks at the bottom of the sketch does indicate at least some humans would work at the center, the patent states “the processes of stowing items and picking items may be performed at least partly by use of robotic devices” that would “operate autonomously to perform at least some tasks.”
While the filing in no way means the drone hives will ever come to fruition — imagine the zoning laws that’d have to be navigated — it does provide a look into what Amazon has up its sleeve.
Potentially bad for Whole Foods workers? Looks that way. Good for the rest of us? TBD.