Amazon has considered putting delivery lockers on wheels to bring them closer to customers. Amazon lockers are an option for customers who wish to avoid the risk of front-porch theft and are located at convenience stores, Whole Foods supermarkets, and other brick-and-mortar locations.
Amazon applied for a patent for a mobile pickup unit that would travel to centralized user pickup areas and park based on the locations of customers scheduled to use the mobile pickup option.
Once the mobile pickup locker is parked, it would notify users and could transmit electronic signals to help shoppers navigate to its location. It could even move to another location after a certain period of time to be closer to those remaining shoppers who had yet to pick up their items.
Like stationary Amazon Lockers, the mobile units could be used for accepting packages from customers wishing to drop off returns.
Amazon has put lot of thought into how the mobile lockers could be used – the patent anticipates that they could include refrigerated storage compartments. It notes it could use some storage compartments for items that are in high demand on a daily basis, so as orders come in from customers, it could make mobile pickup an option that day.
Not only could the lockers be used for somewhat “passive” pickups and returns, they could also be used as mini-factories, so to speak, by having on-demand production capabilities. For example, it could produce books through an on-demand printing process, and it could include a 3D printer to make items right inside the mobile unit.