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The world's largest e-retailer is apparently toying with new ways to enable drone delivery in densely populated areas.

Amazon, according to CNET, recently filed a patent application for a "multi-level fulfillment center."

The proposed warehouse would be considerably different than the sprawling, one-story complexes currently utilized by Amazon and other retailers. Those facilities are generally located in suburban or rural areas, which provide more available land and lower property costs.

But the pressure to locate warehouses closer to population centers is growing as companies compete to quickly deliver goods to online customers. The designs demonstrated in Amazon's patent filing would require a smaller real-estate footprint in urban areas.

The application shows tall, circular buildings with delivery truck loading docks at ground level and dozens of window-like docks to accommodate Amazon's forthcoming delivery drone fleet on the upper levels.

Other recent Amazon filings disclosed this week included plans for drone performance and noise control. The company also previously floated a range of futuristic warehouse concepts, from an airborne fulfillment center to a subterranean tunnel delivery network.

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