Amazon has done a lot recently to speed up its shipping services. It has algorithms that anticipate your orders, ultra-efficient robots that pick items from warehouses, and even a service (Prime Now) that delivers certain items to your doorstep just hours after you order them.
The only problem? Right now, this super-fast shipping service depends on delivery trucks, and only works if you live fairly close to one of Amazon’s warehouses. This puts limits on not only the number of people who can use the service, but also the selection of items available to prospective buyers.
That’s where Amazon’s efforts to introduce drone delivery come in. The company first announced its project — appropriately dubbed Prime Air — in late-2013,
and the statement was welcomed with much skepticism. Since then, the project has overcome numerous hurdles, and while it’s not quite ready for primetime quite yet, every month it inches closer toward launch. At the time, Bezos suggested that the company would begin delivery in 2018,the latest limited trials suggest that Amazon still intends to hit that 2018 target, but, being realistic, it looks like we will have to wait until as late as 2020, if not later, for large-scale availability.
Amazon says it has successfully trialled its Prime Air drone delivery service in Cambridge, UK, by delivering a TV streaming stick and bag of popcorn directly to the garden of a nearby customer.
The breakthrough suggests that autonomous aerial delivery could become a viable business sooner than thought, albeit only for customers with huge gardens, who live close to the delivery depot, and want items weighing less than 2.6kg.
Additionally, while deliveries will be available seven days a week, the drones can only fly in daylight hours and clement weather.
Moreover, the company claims that it has recently carried out a delivery using a drone capable of flying independently, with no human pilot involved in the process. The success was announced by Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos.
Amazon has big plans for Prime Air, and the company claims that o
ne day seeing Amazon drones will be as normal as seeing mail trucks.
Here’s how Amazon describes the Prime Air program: “a delivery system from Amazon designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles, also called drones. Prime Air has great potential to enhance the services we already provide to millions of customers by providing rapid parcel delivery that will also increase the overall safety and efficiency of the transportation system.”
Amazon isn’t alone in the field: Google’s experimental sibling, X, has a long-running drone delivery project of its own, Project Wing. Its prototypes use a fixed-wing drone, and are aimed at deliveries to particularly isolated rural customers.
The world is evolving very quickly and only those who can accept and exploit these changes will be able to take advantages.
Right from the beginning, one of the best peculiarities of amazon was to be able to progress ahead of others, getting advantage of technology, taking on the role of first-
mover and becoming the technological leader.
This is one of the major aspects that has differentiated amazon from its competitors and has allowed it to become quickly leader in its industry. In fact today, Amazon is definitely the first company in the e-commerce world ranking.
Certainly there are still many problems to be solved before that we can receive what we order directly in our garden or balcony thanks to the delivery with drone, related for example to the safety of both the flight and the shipment, the permits it will have to get official start of the project, the maintenance costs of drones and the maximum flight times and maximum distances from the warehouse.
Fortunately amazon is a serious company with a highly qualified staff and probably in a few years, if not months, it will be able to make “prime air” a standard delivery mode. After all Amazon is at a good point in the course and in 2013 no one really believed that today the drone delivery is almost possible.
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