Trucks With 3-D Printers Coming From Amazon?

gynti_46/Flickr Inc. filed several patents for a system of printing three-dimensional products on-demand from inside a delivery truck, The Wall Street Journal reported.

With the system, Amazon could guarantee to have a product without having to even stock the inventory, WSJ reported.

“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,” according to the applications.

There is no guarantee it will deploy a fleet of 3-D printing trucks, the paper reported, or even receive the patent.

3-D printing works by adding thin layers of materials on top each other based on designs from computer blueprints.

The online retailer also applied for a patent that would eliminate checkout at brick-and-mortar retail stores.

Amazon said a user will walk through a facility picking up items for purchase. When the user exits, the items are “automatically transitioned” to the user without “affirmative input” or delay, Bloomberg News reported.

This would be accomplished by a camera that captures the image of the user’s hand before it crosses a plane into the inventory location. The user could put the items into a cart or carry them out of the store.

The facility would have stored data that would enable identification of the user, including “images of the user, height of the user, weight of the user, a user name and password, user biometrics, purchase history, payment instrument information, purchase limits and the like,” Amazon said in its application.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office via the Wall Street Journal