Drones and robots are set to take over the world, and the day is closer now: Amazon, one of the world’s leading e commerce platform has just announced what they have been up to: Prime Air, their in-house drone delivery service.
The official announcement reads:
“We’re excited to share Prime Air — something the team has been working on in our next generation R&D lab. The goal of this new delivery system is to get packages into customers’ hands in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles. Putting Prime Air into commercial use will take some number of years as we advance the technology and wait for the necessary FAA rules and regulations.”
The whole world is excited with the announcement, as it makes major headlines in tech blogs globally.
At the same time when the whole technology world is getting hyped up with the new announcement, many do not know that the technology (drone delivery) has long been tinkered with by several other companies.
Earlier last week, we wrote that Singapore based Garuda Robotics operates commercial drones which allow businesses to deliver items such as food, parcels, and medical supplies from one place to the other. Garuda is already in talks with potential clients to conduct trials. While a wide range of applications are possible, the company is zoning in on a few: surveillance of oil and gas infrastructure, search and rescue operations, and support for civil defense operations.
Drones to deliver textbooks and pizzas
On top of that, drones are also being used for parcel delivery. Zookal, Australia’s student textbook rental site, has recently announced a partnership with commercial drone service Flirtey to provide a unique parcel delivery solution to support its textbook dispatch.
Other than these, Domino’s pizza also released a video of a drone, named “DomiCopter”, actually delivering two pizzas. While the idea is likely just a PR stunt, A spokesman for the Michigan-based pizza company confirmed that the concept is “the brainchild of our independent master franchise company in the U.K.
A similar idea called the TacoCopter — an app that would dispatch a drone to deliver a taco to your door — went viral last year, but the service is illegal under U.S. law. Federal Aviation Administration rules ban unmanned aircraft like drones from being used for commercial purposes.
“Current U.S. FAA regulations prevent … using UAVs [Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, like drones] for commercial purposes at the moment,” Star Simpson, one of Tacocopter’s three cofounders told Huffington Post in an interview.
“Because of the FAA’s regulations — as well as other minor problems, like navigating the treacherous terrain of an urban environment, keeping the food warm, finding a city map precise enough to avoid crashes 100 percent of the time, avoiding birds, balconies and telephone wires, delivering food to people indoors, delivering food to the right person, dealing with greedy humans who would just steal the Tacocopter as soon as it got to them, etc. — the Tacocopter website exists more as a conversation starter about the future of food delivery (and delivery in general), as well as about the commercial uses of unmanned vehicles, than an actual startup plan or business.” – Huffington Post
So will we see a drones hovering our skies soon, with Amazon’s Prime Air leading the pack? The 165 billion dollar company seems to believe so. Amazon says that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is actively working on rules for unmanned aerial vehicles, and hopefully the FAA’s rules will be in place as early as sometime in 2015.
Several companies around the world has attempted to make drones mainstream, but has failed to get any responses. Looks like Amazon is the one company that will make things happen.
Oh in case you are wondering what the assembly line of Amazon looks like, here’s a sneak peak, taken from Business Insider: