Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer announced a future use of drones to improve its delivery system and boost growth.
The project called Prime Air would use an army of drones or Octocopters to deliver packages weighing up to 2.3kg to customers within 30 minutes of them placing the order. In theory, this idea sounds amazing. It would allow customers to receive their items in the shortest time (thus giving everyone a chance to finish Christmas Shopping up to 30minutes before Christmas dinner).
However, according to its CEO Jeff Bezos this service would only be available in 5 years. Plus the US Federal Aviation Administration still need to approve the use of drone for civilians purposes even if civilian air space is expected to be opened up to all kinds of drones by 2015 in the US and by 2016 in Europe.
But even if the news is exciting (or is it?) the internet has been inundated by a wave of why it would go wrong and how crazy this idea is. For instance, the Guardian is asking a bunch of good questions such as how does a drone find the package’s recipient? How is the transfer of the package enacted? What stops someone else from stealing the package along the way? etc
But even if imagining this army of drones flying around in our cities, let’s stop a minute and analyse Amazon’s latest mov. What is the day today? Yes we are only three weeks away from Christmas which means we are all right in the middle of Christmas shopping. What great press coverage for a company that considers Christmas as its busiest period of the year? Does this news explain why I bought Christmas presents online this week? Maybe.
This trick also subtly managed to knock away some bad stories we recently heard about the working condition within the company. Remember the investigation that revealed about a week ago the working and hiring practices including its zero-hour contracts, short breaks, long days, the internal employee tracking system. Jeff Bezos’ announcement was weirdly right on time for Christmas.
Will our future be filled with drones? Let’s wait and see.
Waterstone also unveiled this week its own delivery idea : the Ornithological Waterstone Landing Service OT O.W.L.S clearly inspired by Harry Potter.
Press Manager Jon Owls explained in a video how this new way will also allow customers to receive their items within 30 minutes after passing orders. Owls consists of “a fleet of specially trained owls that, either working individually or as an adorable team, will be able to deliver your package within thirty minutes of you placing your order”.