I thought the idea of drone delivery was dead.
It’s been nearly 5 years since Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced Prime Air and his plans to make drone delivery a reality. The goal was to make it possible to deliver a selection of products in 30 minutes or less. Using drones to carry the cargo from local Amazon fulfilment centres across the UK.
The first test flight was completed in Cambridge on 7 December 2016, but since then we’ve heard little else on the project.
Now, I’m no drone expect, but when it comes to moving goods I know my stuff.
I love technology. I love how it brings the world together and makes what was once impossible, possible.
But drone delivery? I’m not sure how that’s going to work.
There’s not only the initial set up costs to consider, the development of the technology and the actual purchase of the drones themselves. But there’s the staffing, laws and practicalities too.
Many countries, the UK included, have strict laws relating to the flying of drones. And it’s easy to see why.
Last year Gatwick airport came to a complete standstill after all flights were cancelled or delayed due to drones on the runway. More than 110,000 people were affected over the busy Christmas season.
If one small drone can cause that much chaos, just imagine when the skies are filled with deliveries!
Amazon currently ships around £30 million worth of goods in the UK every DAY. Now, I know not all those products would qualify for Prime Air due to it’s 5lb weight limit, but we’re still looking at a lot of stuff.
And a lot of drones.
But while it seems that Amazon have gone quiet on the drone delivery front, other companies are still in keen pursuit.
Both Google and Uber are actively developing their own drone delivery services. Just last month it was announced that Google’s parent company Alphabet, is launching its first public drone delivery service in Australia after the country’s aviation authority granted it regulatory approval, so I guess it won’t be long before it hits the UK too.
But at what price?
Personally, I can see the benefit of drone delivery for certain uses such as the medical industry. Just in the last couple of days the first ever kidney was transported to a hospital by drone. This could be revolutionary for the transplant services because time is of the essence!
It’s the consumer market that concerns me. In a world filled with consumerism, where people buy more and more each day, how will we keep the skies clear and the people below them safe?
I guess only time will tell…