- Twitter is collectively freaking out over a video showing a giant Amazon blimp deploying a swarm of delivery drones.
- The video, however, is fake, and was computer generated by a Twitter user.
- The CGI blimp is based off a real patent Amazon filed in 2016 for a drone delivery service with “airborne fulfillment centers.”
A video making the rounds on Twitter shows a massive Amazon blimp floating over a neighborhood and unleashing an army of delivery drones.
Before you panic at what one Twitter user called a “borderline dystopian” image, the video is fake. It seems a tech savvy Twitter user created a computer-generated video of the blimp, and posted it online, where it took on a life of its own.
There was a talk about delivery by drone, but it had already started. I thought it was a story ahead.#エイプリルフール #zozi撮影 pic.twitter.com/hFrmGOKwof
— zozi(厳島神社の人） (@zozi009) March 31, 2019
However, the Amazon blimp isn’t entirely based on a fictional idea. It’s based on an actual patent Amazon filed back in December 2016. To pursue its efforts for a drone delivery service, Amazon patented the idea of floating blimp-like airships — called “airborne fulfilment centers” — that would store products midair, and an accompanying network of drones — called “unmanned aerial vehicles” — that would pick up items from the blimp and deliver them to customers.
Read more: Jeff Bezos was wrong when he predicted Amazon will be making drone deliveries by 2018
The idea was floated to solve issues Amazon was having in its pursuit of a full-fledged delivery service. Launching a drone from the ground for each package delivery requires a great amount of energy, and an aerial blimp that drones could “float” down from would conserve each drone’s energy use.
Amazon has been hinting at plans for a drone delivery service for years. In 2013, Jeff Bezos said on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that Amazon’s “octocopter” delivery drones would be operational in four to five years’ time.
Amazon has tested out drone delivery on a small scale in the UK countryside, and still teases a “Prime Air” delivery system coming soon on its website.
But it’s 2019, and we still don’t have unmanned aerial vehicles dropping off our Amazon packages. But if people’s reactions to the CGI video circulating online are any indicator, plenty of people are fine with that.
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