It’s a bird, it’s a plane! Nope, it is a package on its way to being delivered to your doorstep. Tech giant Amazon recently gained the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to be able to deliver some of its packages via drones. This is the most recent development from the Seattle based company to deliver packages within a half hour or less to its customers.
The FAA gave Amazon a Part 135 air carrier certificate so that it can eventually deploy its Prime Air drones in what will be a strange blend of technology, transit, and something that might resemble a scene out of a futuristic science fiction film. Amazon has yet to give a date as to when the drones will begin to deliver packages, but this was indeed a crucial step in the process. During the process, the company needed to give the FAA proof that it could safely operate the drones as well as demonstrate it. In a sense, this was a sort of driver’s test for Amazon to prove it could safely navigate its drones.Read More »
Amazon and the FAA have both put money into drone technology, as the FAA also handed out grants to a number of universities worth more than $7.5 million for advancing drone research.
The tech giant does not plan to stop refining its drone technology here either, and it asserts that it will keep working with the FAA and other key organizations to accomplish its eventual delivery goals.
Amazon has been teasing the use of drones for years and is still testing it out. Of course, the company has become an increasingly important presence in delivery during the coronavirus pandemic, and has continued to roll out other popular products in addition to its online leading delivery services.
Just last year, Amazon teased a project in Las Vegas that showcased a drone that was able to carry as much as five pounds and featured technology that helped it avoid running into other objects.
Amazon has already placed a heavy focus on its delivery times, as many loyal customers rely on it for its popular one day delivery as well as its even faster Prime Now delivery services. However, adding an efficient drone service would help the company and Chief Executive Officers, Jeff Bezos, make some of its most ambitious goals come true. It was Bezos who said on “60 Minutes” back in 2013 that drones were the future and that the company would be delivering packages with them before too long. Of course, this has yet to happen, but has remained on Bezos’ grandiose to do list since then. Drones have been in the public eye for nearly a decade, but have yet to be used in a way that would cast as wide of a net as Amazon would.
Amazon is just the third company to receive the certificate, and it follows the Google owned Wing Aviation and UPS Flight Forward. Drones are not being used to deliver items as of this time. However, if Amazon can get the technology right and make this form of delivery a mainstream occurrence, there may be an explosion in this sector.
There is no shortage of critics of the idea of drones delivering packages, however. The move away from human interaction may make sense during a pandemic, but it could be risky if not implemented correctly in the long run. Others worry that it might take away jobs from drivers and others in what could be a shift across the globe towards automation and less reliance on humans.
Either way, Amazon still has some work to do before it goes all in on the futuristic drone delivery. Though it may seem far off and even a bit gimmicky for some, there’s no reason to underestimate Amazon. It may some day become commonplace for items to literally be “flying off the shelves” straight to your doorstep.