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Amazon To Use Drones For Delivery: Success Or Failure?


Salini Madiraju

Today, almost every news website had some space reserved in the technology column for an article that was titled- “Amazon has made its first ever Drone Delivery” or something in similar lines. Who would want to miss mentioning such path breaking news that will catch every tech-enthusiast’s eye?!

While it was a promised deliverable from Amazon, half of the audience never believed that it will be a reality and the other half forgot about it the very next day.

drones used for delivery


What Is A UAV And Why Is It So Important?

Before jumping at further details, for all our not-so-techie friends: A drone is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that transports goods from one place to another.

 Online Retailers claim that it will be the future of the world when it comes to quicker deliveries.

Also, it’s not something new. Many companies have tried Drone Deliveries in the past.

Remember the MIT graduate who developed Tacocopter, an UAV meant to deliver Tacos in San Francisco through a mobile app. Or the British Franchise of Domino’s Pizza that developed Domicopter to deliver pizzas.

Many such claims by various companies about Drone Trials make their way to the news every now and then but rarely are they put into implementation. So when the founder of Amazon announced Amazon Prime Air in 2013 for rapid delivery of lightweight products using UAVs, he was criticized that it was a mere publicity stunt to garner attention from Christmas Shoppers.



Drone Deliveries-A Reality

However, he proved them all wrong by announcing the first successful delivery today. So let’s see how it works (Less jargon promised).

  • Drones fly off from the warehouses autonomously, and travel through an automated track using GPS to reach the destination fed to it.
  • Packages should not cross the weight thresholds and these UAVs are generally meant for light weight packages
  • They travel at a height of 300-400mts and traverse back through the same route to reach the warehouse.

All that sounds cool right?! Imagine a drone delivering your pizza to satiate your midnight cravings. Or surprising your best friend with a birthday gift delivered by a Drone. Fancy it may seem, it is not very feasible in the current day’s scenario owing to a number of limitations.

amazon for delivery


Why Are Drones Not A Good Idea

Firstly, it is a very costly affair. For the love of curiosity, one might try a drone delivery for once but will not do it every time. Foolish it would be, when you can get it delivered free of cost.

Amazon can’t afford free drone deliveries either, as it has invested way too much into its operations and research.

Secondly, not everyone resides in the 7.5miles vicinity of an Amazon’s warehouse. Above all there are numerous safety constraints (should not be in the aircraft routes, allowed only during broad day light, low winds, high visibility and so on).

So it will not be wrong to conclude that drones could be one of those disruptive technologies sought after by most online retailers, but they’re still far from being called an everyday reality.

Salini is currently pursuing MBA from Mumbai. She prefers voicing her opinions than keeping them to herself. 

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