Amazon unveils a chopper-plane mashup to deliver packages

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Amazon unveiled its newest drone design for its Prime Air fleet on Wednesday. (Jordan Stead / AFP)

Amazon.com Inc. has unveiled a revolutionary new drone — part helicopter and part science-fiction aircraft — that the company expects to use for test deliveries of toothpaste and other household goods starting within months.

The new device takes off vertically, then tilts to fly horizontally like a plane. It also features artificial intelligence, using a suite of sensors the company said will allow it to fly robotically without threatening traditional aircraft or people on the ground.

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Amazon patents aerial fulfillment centers for improved drone delivery

Amazon expanding in Eastern Europe

Amazon’s drone-centric skyscrapers intended to replace traditional warehouses are old news. The tech giant just patented floating warehouses.

Last June, we reported on Amazon’s patent application for fulfillment center towers: skyscrapers that would replace the traditional warehouse model in favor of modern, drone-friendly versions that could serve as both charging hubs and convenient pitstops for delivery drones to pick up and drop off packages efficiently. According to a 2016 patent which the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted the tech giant today, Amazon realized that making the fulfillment centers airborne, themselves, would serve as one last additional step toward maximizing the idea completely.

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