Sorry to have another blog article about Amazon, but I'm guessing their Drone Delivery business unit didn't coordinate with the AmazonGo business unit press release timing. Regardless, I thought the update to be worthy of sharing and discussing.
Amazon has announced the success of its first autonomous drone delivery December 7th, 2016. The service is called Prime Air and its lofty objective is to have a half hour order cycle times --meaning that it should take less than a half-hour from the time that the customer clicks "buy" to the point where the customer has their order.
Sounds great in concept, but I have to agree with Moulton Logistics' CEO, Larry Moulton on this one and say, "I'm skeptical." Yes, technically Amazon has already proven it can be done with the success of their first delivery that was made in only 13 minutes, but there are some humorous observations that can be made from their video primarily with the "test market."
Not to discount the fact that they achieved their delivery time goal of fewer than 30 minutes by drone, which is a nice box to check on your corporate bucket list, but.....although they say the test market is Cambridge England, they also say that they only service two customers in Cambridge at this time, and those customers happen to live in a rural area with large grass fields. So, in this case, Amazon must have chosen two customers in Cambridge who live in the middle of nowhere and built an Amazon Prime Fulfillment Test Center very close to their farms. Now that's customer service!
The bottom line is that as fun as this concept is to dream about it has some very practical problems to overcome like how would they be able to do this on a large scale, how would they keep the air safe for planes, how would they keep customers safe from drones landing in the wrong places, and although I do believe technology will get to the point where that can be accomplished. So I guess that for now, drone delivery might be a more cost-effective way to deliver to rural areas, but I have a feeling that customer base lives in a rural area for a reason and they are not going to be very excited to have drone deliveries polluting their skies. I'd venture to say that the chances of Amazon drones getting mistaken for game during the farmer's hunting seasons will be very high....