Futuristic ‘drone ports’ are one way of redesigning empty shopping centres
AS SHOPPING CENTRES shutter across North America, one architecture firm has plans to salvage brick-and-mortar retail units by turning them into ‘drone ports’.
CallisonRTKL, a global architecture firm, was inspired by the Six Flags Mall in Arlington, Texas, which is going to be demolished after losing its key tenants.
There are tentative plans in place to transform the defunct mall into an industrial complex, but CallisonRTKL has something else in mind. The firm wants to transform the shell of the former mall into a delivery warehouse that’s ideal for drone take-off and delivery.
So how would that work?
The ‘drone port’ is a futuristic storage and delivery prototype that aims to provide inexpensive, same-day-delivery for companies like Amazon.
The innovative design features an underground warehouse, an unloading area for truck deliveries, a vertical elevator tower, and a drone dock ring where the drones are stored and loaded.
Goods are brought to the storage centre by delivery trucks and stored in the underground warehouse.
When a customer places an order, a robot takes the package from the underground warehouse and moves it to an elevator that carries the package up the vertical tower.
At the top of the tower, the package is pushed onto a circular conveyer belt inside the ring that transports the package to a drone ready to make a delivery.
Once the package is loaded into the drone by robots, the drone leaves the storage centre and delivers the package to the individual customer’s home.
By taking off from a high altitude, the drone is able to conserve enough energy during take-off to deliver the package and return to the drone port without recharging.
The delivery prototype could eventually save retailers a lot of money. According to analysts at Deutsche Bank, drone delivery could cut the unit cost of individual deliveries in half for retailers like Amazon.
CallisonRTKL has no definite plans or funding to develop the drone port at the moment, but as customers demand faster and more efficient shipping methods, more and more companies could turn to drone delivery.