By Gaurav Pradhan
Amazon is slowly climbing the innovative ladder of Supply Chain Management – Aerial Drone Delivery. Amazon has claimed the successful trial of Prime Air Drone delivery service in Cambridge, UK on December 7th, 2016. The package constituted of a bag full of popcorn with a TV streaming stick – which was delivered to a customer in the neighbourhood. The delivery point was the house garden.
This trial has strengthen a possibility of autonomous aerial drone delivery becoming a reality in terms of viability, with the boundary conditions such as availability of garden spaces as landing spot, close proximity to delivery centers, and light items (weighing less than 2.5 kgs).
Amazon’s Flight Forward – Prime Air
As the drone delivery is its initial pilot test run mode, it is limited to only two customers as of now. But Amazon is hopeful that they will soon be expanding to some more customers in near future. Prime Air service is and will be free for them as of now, and they might as well charge the delivery fee once they go for a more efficient and high coverage roll out.
By that time, Prime Air has to overcome their potential problems of regulation, viability, only day time availability and weather restrictions. Finding a workaround of these problems will help Amazon create a sustainable competitive advantage of last mile delivery compared to its peers.
Future of Prime Air
Future of Prime Air depends on Amazon’s vision and their focus in terms of infrastructure and investment, making the idea a reality. But along with this, different regulatory authorities such as Aviation authorities of different countries play a major role in making it a grand success by helping them in a global roll out, may not be all at a time, but progressively.
Amazon has been knocking doors of several Aviation authorities such as US and UK for quite some time. FAA (Federal Aviation Agency) raised some eyebrows, but Civil Aviation Authority, UK has shown some consideration despite of having heavy limit restriction.
They have allowed Amazon to test the drones having beyond line-of-sight flight capability in rural and sub-urban areas. These flights will be managed by pilot managing multiple autonomous drones, testing the sensor’s performance based on sense-and-avoid technology.
Amazon is looking ahead in their innovative ideas, bringing a welcome change, a disruption in pretty saturated supply chain dynamics. These can be fruitful if and only if all the blocks fall at the right place. There is still a long way to go, but we should be happy that someone has taken a smart step in this direction.
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