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Amazon sees cell towers as drone charging stations

Amazon has patented a routing system for drones that will rely on cell towers, church steeples and other vertical structures to refuel the company’s unmanned aerial vehicles.
“The docking stations can extend the range of UAVs by providing recharging/refueling stations for the UAVs,” according to Amazon. “The docking stations can also include navigational aid to guide the UAVs to the docking stations and to provide routing information from the central control. The docking stations can be incorporated into existing structures such as cell towers, light and power poles, and buildings. The docking stations can also comprise standalone structures to provide additional services to underserved areas.”
Amazon calls its evolving drone delivery service Amazon Prime Air. The company has said packages weighing up to five pounds will be eligible for drone delivery, and that the majority of its deliveries weigh less than five pounds.
One hurdle Amazon will need to overcome is regulatory approval for Amazon Prime Air. Current Federal Aviation Administration rules allow drones to be used for aerial photography and utility inspection, but not for package delivery.
Amazon may get some help from Google parent Alphabet in its efforts to initiate drone delivery services. Alphabet is working with the FAA to develop an air traffic control system for drones flying lower than 500 feet.
Wal-Mart is also said to be eyeing the drone delivery business. If Amazon is successful in creating its “drone docking” stations, it could potentially rent those services to other drone operators.
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Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse is the publisher of Network Builder Reports ( At RCR, Martha authored more than 20 in-depth feature reports and more than 2,400 news articles. She also created the Mobile Minute and the 5 Things to Know Today series. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York and managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Martha is the board president of Austin's Trinity Center and is a member of the Women's Wireless Leadership Forum.

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