Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon recently revealed in a “60 Minutes” interview with Charlie Rose Sunday night said that his company is currently experimenting with drones which can deliver packages within 30 minutes. The drones are actually octocopters which is part of a program called “Amazon Prime Air” and are capable of carrying packages of up to five pounds in weight. Octocopters are eight-rotor helicopters and are electronically controlled.
However, the project will only be fully functional in four or five years’ time as numerous tests must still be conducted as well as compliance with existing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and regulations. The drone delivery service will involve loading the package underneath the drone through the conveyor system. Once the package is secured underneath the drone, it will now fly to its destination and right into the front door of the package’s recipient. The drone will land and gently drops the package before leaving again to return to home base.
Jeff Bezos said, 86 percent of Amazon’s delivery are five pounds and below and the drones can cover a 10-mile radius from the fulfillment center and to where the customer is. He added that in urban areas such distance could cover a substantial number of people but as with everything else the delivery drones have its limitations, “we’re not gonna deliver kayaks or table saws this way.”
Aside from the speed advantage, the delivery drones are powered by electric motors so it is environmentally friendly not unlike the many delivery trucks the company is currently utilizing in their operations. The drones are also autonomous added Bezos, there is no one controlling the drones with a remote control but instructions are given to them by way of GPS coordinates. The drones receive the instructions and they fly to those coordinates.
Right now, the project is still in the research and development stage. Issues on reliability and system integrity are still being improved upon, he does not want somebody getting injured just because a drone accidentally loses control or power and suddenly fell to the ground, Bezos clarified. The Amazon CEO also said that his company must always come up with ways for faster delivery methods because Amazon has no choice, “Companies have short life spans…and Amazon will be disrupted one day.”
Amazon was established 18 years ago and was originally conceived as an online book retailer. But over the years of its corporate existence it has reinvented itself to cope with the changing demands of the time and this is specifically true as regards on the way how people shop, compute and read. Today, Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer selling different products to a global customer base.
The company believes in disrupting on the way people do things. In fact, a few weeks ago, the company announced the launching of its Sunday delivery services. Right now, Amazon has 225 million global customers putting into action its objective of selling everything to everyone. And as the founder, Jeff Bezos has an estimated worth of $25 billion.
At the center of Amazon’s complex delivery system are the 96 warehouses called fulfilment centers spread around the world. The fulfilment centers in conjunction with an efficient logistics system allow it to reach customers even in faraway places.
And with Jeff Bezos experimenting with drones in order to deliver packages, Amazon as a company may be in for another surprise and possibly disrupt the system once again and change how we do things.
By Roberto I. Belda