By locating the fulfilment centres within the cities, Amazon says items may be more quickly delivered to the growing population of people that live and work there

By locating the fulfilment centres within the cities, Amazon says items may be more quickly delivered to the growing population of people that live and work there

Online behemoth Amazon could be one step closer to achieving its goal of delivering goods by drone with a new patent that would speed up delivery times.

The e-commerce giant has filed a patent for what it calls a multi-level (ML) fulfilment centre, designed to accommodate the landing and take-off of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) - otherwise known as drones - possibly in an urban setting, such as in a densely populated area.

Unlike traditional fulfilment centres, Amazon says its ML facilities may include many levels as permitted under zoning regulations for respective areas. It adds the centres may have one or more landing locations and one or more deployment locations to accommodate UAVs, which may deliver at least some of the items from the fulfilment centre to locations "associated with customers".

Fulfilling centres are typically large-volume single-floor warehouse buildings used to temporarily store items prior to shipment to customers. Often, due to their large footprint, these buildings are located on the outskirts of cities where space is available to accommodate their size.

In the patent, which was written in 2015 and published last week, Amazon claims these locations are not convenient for deliveries into cities where an ever-increasing number of people live. It adds there is a "growing need and desire" to locate fulfilment centres within cities, such as in downtown districts and densely populated areas.

By locating the fulfilment centres within the cities, Amazon says items may be more quickly delivered to the growing population of people that live and work there.

Click here to see the patent.

Earlier this year, Amazon remained silent on reports it has been awarded a patent for an "airborne fulfilment centre" (AFC) that will act as a launchpad for delivery by drones.

Airbourne Amazon warehouse to aid drone delivery?

Meanwhile, in July of last year, the online retail giant was granted permission by the UK Government to explore the possibility of delivery by drone.

Amazon to trial delivery by drone in the UK