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Amazon drone knocking

Using drones to drop off packages could be great for buyers, who might want to get certain items as fast as humanly possible. Back in 2013, when Amazon revealed plans to begin delivering packages via flying drones through Prime Air, some seemed skeptical about the reality of deploying such a system. Recently, Amazon doubled down on those claims by releasing information on one of its new drones in action, and it is seriously impressive. A new video presented by former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson (who is working on a show for Amazon), takes us through the entire process, from ordering, to warehouse launch, to delivery. The new drone looks a lot different from the one Amazon showed us a couple of years ago. This one has a more commercial and streamlined look, and instead of showing the package hanging in open air, the new drone hides the item in a square compartment. Just Google Amazon Prime Air Drone video with Jeremy Clarkson to see for yourself this amazing new drone that will dramatically impact the supply chain.

According to Amazon, the drone reaches a height of about 400 feet in vertical mode and then switches to horizontal mode to travel up to 15 miles away from the warehouse. During the flight, the drone uses what Amazon calls “sense and avoid technology” to avoid collisions with other objects in its flight path. Toward the end of the video, the drone alights atop an Amazon logo in the yard of a consumer and spits out the package (in this case, shoes) and then takes off in a matter of seconds. The delivery process, which Amazon is careful to note is real and not a simulation, comes off seamlessly, making the prospect of drone deliveries seem like something that will be viable just a few months from now. However, despite the encouraging footage, Amazon is still holding off on announcing exactly when its drones will take to the skies. On the updated Prime Air page featuring the new flight footage, a message reads, “Putting Prime Air into service will take some time, but we will deploy when we have the regulatory support needed to realize our vision.” The FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Registration Task Force Aviation Rulemaking Committee is still hammering out rules for private and commercial drone use in U.S. air space, so Amazon’s lack of a specific launch timeline for Prime Air is understandable. But based on the video, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Prime Air might not be a mere marketing stunt but a real look at the future of Amazon deliveries. Retailers Racing to the Drone Games Wal-Mart recently applied to U.S. regulators for permission to test drones for home delivery, curbside pickup and checking warehouse inventories, a sign it plans to go head-to-head with Amazon in using drones to fill and deliver online orders. Wal-Mart wants to start using drones in an effort to create a more efficient supply chain, and connect their network of stores, distribution centers, fulfillment centers and transportation fleet. The world’s largest retailer by revenue has for several months been conducting indoor tests of small unmanned aircraft systems (drones) and is now seeking for the first time to test the machines outdoors. In addition to having drones take inventory of trailers outside its warehouses and perform other tasks aimed at making its distribution system more efficient, Wal-Mart is asking the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to research drone use in “deliveries to customers at Walmart facilities, as well as to consumer homes.” The move comes as Amazon, Google and other companies test drones in the expectation that the FAA will soon establish rules for their widespread commercial use.

Questions

1. How will drones impact the supply chain?

2. Why are big retailers racing to be the first to market with drone home delivery?

3. How can a CRM system help communicate s in the supply chain between customers and drones?

4. How could BPR help uncover s in a company’s supply chain that uses drones?

5. What are the pros and cons of using a drone to deliver packages?