Amazon Imagines A Future Where Delivery Trucks Print 3D Products At The Curb

One of Amazon's patent applications.

One of Amazon’s patent applications.

There can be a lot of worry over getting a package from Amazon delivered successfully — but what if your item never had to travel farther than the distance between the curb and your door? Amazon has filed a few patent applications in an effort to perhaps make curbside 3D printing a reality for the future.

These “mobile manufacturing hubs” would allow drivers to pop out products right outside the customer’s home, reports the Wall Street Journal, all from the delivery truck that’s already driving around dropping off other products.

The explanation for the patents says that using such a system would cut down on the time it takes to deliver a package, and also cut down on how much warehouse space Amazon needs to hold all its products.

“Time delays between receiving an order and shipping the item to the customer may reduce customer satisfaction and affect revenues generated,” Amazon wrote in the applications. “Accordingly, an electronic marketplace may find it desirable to decrease the amount of warehouse or inventory storage space needed, to reduce the amount of time consumed between receiving an order and delivering the item to the customer, or both.”

This kind of thing could be good if you needed replacement car parts or other 3D printed items on the day you’re set to go on a road trip, posits the WSJ, but find something is missing. It could also mean that some products would never be out of stock, meaning less frustration on the customer end once you find that perfect item you absolutely must have.

When Drones Aren’t Enough, Amazon Envisions Trucks with 3D Printers [Wall Street Journal]

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