The Jetsons Era May Be Here in New Shopping Malls

Posted by Land Link on Jun 7, 2017 4:59:17 PM


 It Is no secret, nor a surprise that shopping malls are struggling to keep tenants. Online shopping and ease of delivery are clearly the contributing factors altering our shopping habits. So, what might the next generation shopping mall look like? One thing is certain- it will have to be a dramatic transformation of today's version.  One architecture firm has bold plans to salvage brick-and-mortar shopping centers by turning them into warehouses with drone ports.

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CallisonRTKL, a global architecture firm, has submitted tentative plans to transform the shell of a defunct Texas mall into a delivery warehouse that's ideal for drone applications. The shell would be used for receiving product and order fulfillment. Ascending from the facility would be an airport of sorts to accommodate drone takeoff and landing. This bold design may be several years away if even proven practical. I think we can surmise one thing from recent drone technology applications. Barring some unlikely government interference, the idea is most likely here to stay. Recent moves by Amazon, Wal-Mart and the like are proof to that assertion.

Amazon Awarded a Patent for A Floating Airship Warehouse


Amazon had been awarded a patent for a giant flying warehouse that acts as a launch pad for drones to deliver items within minutes.  A clear advantage to this design is the mobility.  A significant constraint of drone delivery is the drones range. The range in this case must be considered in round trip terms further limiting the delivery parameters.  The mobility of the Amazon Airship greatly expands the delivery area to practically anywhere it wishes to hover.  Another efficiency benefit of the airship hovering at about 40,000 feet is that the drones will expend very little energy as they float to their ground delivery. 

Amazon's filing reveals several uses for the warehouse blimp. One example is at a football match where customers may want certain items such as food or merchandise. Ahead of the game, the NFL could stock up on items and deploy these during the game with drones when they are ordered. The airship could also be used as a giant advertising board, allowing customers to order the items on display. All of these can be ordered "within minutes".  As with the next generation shopping mall design, this too is in the planning stage but it seems very doable.

It’s fascinating with the breadth of possibilities that today's pace of technology is making possible. Not to be outdone, Wal-Mart is also testing drone delivery concepts in its distribution centers.  It is also utilizing drone technology in the warehouse for labor intense functions like inventory - eliminating the need for high risk workers strapped into lifts to manually count the massive amount of inventory in a Wal-Mart DC. 

Given the strong demand of drone delivery it is likely just a matter of time before the FAA drafts regulations by which the drones must safely operate.  To stay up to date on these topics and more please subscribe to our blog @

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Topics: Shipping News