Where is Amazon Prime Air this holiday season?

by | Dec. 14, 2017

Enterprise drone investment is expected to outpace both civilian and military drone investment growth over the next five years. Businesses and civilian governments are experimenting with new and unique ways to leverage autonomous aircraft. As wildfires blaze across Southern California, the Los Angeles Fire Department used a drone to conduct damage assessments and find hotspots in the Skirball Fire. Miners in Nevada are using drones to survey and inspect mining sites. In the Amazon Basin, the Wapichana people are using drones to monitor and map deforestation and illegal mining. 

So where is my option to have my Amazon package delivered via drone? It’s been over a year since Amazon debuted an Amazon Prime Air delivery in England. Ideally, Amazon Prime Air would be tested in a high density environment minimizing the trip distance between the distribution center and the customer’s home - increasing the total number of flights per day. The cost of last mile delivery, delivering parcels from the local distribution center to the customer’s door, is often the most expensive part of order fulfillment. If Amazon could figure out a way to lower costs for last mile deliveries while also reducing delivery time, prices could be cut and consumers’ sense of immediacy for a product fulfilled. Why then is Amazon testing Prime Air in the middle of the English countryside rather than a busy borough of London? Rural delivery is logistically the simplest. The airspace has light or no regulation, there is ample room for a customer to designate as a “landing zone,” and any aircraft failure has a lower chance of damaging a person or property. 

Don’t expect to see any airborne couriers delivering packages to the doorstep of millennials living in high density areas such as New York City, Los Angeles, or San Francisco any time soon. High density environments are more strictly regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and gaining an exemption to current regulations, such as line-of-sight operation, is laborious. Amazon has some ambitious plans for Prime Air, including a patent for a floating warehouse. Even Amazon will admit, “We will not launch Prime Air until we are able to demonstrate safe operations.” This means in the short term Prime Air operations will focus on rural experiments under the close supervision of the FAA.

Further Reading:

Next: Voice Technologies Dominate at CES
Previous: 3 Reasons Why the Windows Mixed Reality Platform Will Revolutionize VR - And 3 Reasons Why It'll Flop


    Be the first to leave a comment.

Post a Comment

Have a comment? Login or create an account to start a discussion.