Retail goes to heaven: courier drones

    Amazon and Google are already testing delivery drones, and Walmart, the largest retail chain, is preparing to join them and sent a request to the US Federal Aviation Administration. The use of drones for commercial purposes can bring the economy of the country 82.5 billion dollars. The main obstacles are state regulators and time.


    Courier Drones in the USA and the World

    In the United States, permits for the commercial use of drones are owned by companies involved in aerial photography, power line inspection, cartography, video broadcasting of sporting events, and monitoring of private property. And only one company delivers drugs.

    This does not prevent the use of drones illegally. On July 29, 2015, guards discovered a packet of tobacco and two types of narcotics in a prison in Mnsfield, Ohio .

    Amazon offers delivery called Prime Air - customers receive packages within half an hour after placing an order. The maximum mass of a parcel is 2.3 kilograms - this is the maximum weight of 86% of goods sent by the retailer.

    Google, as part of Project Wing, tested drone delivery in Australia and the United States. Google devices fly at a speed of up to 160 kilometers per hour at an altitude of up to 120 meters. The company has developed an algorithm in case the device loses communication with operators on Earth. But if Amazon speaks openly about its goals - the delivery of goods by drones, then the purpose of Project Wing is still unclear.

    In Russia in June 2014, Fedor Ovchinnikov tried to introduce pizza delivery by drones in Syktyvkar. The story ended well: the court canceled a fine of fifty thousand rubles for delivery .

    In June 2015, Invitro tested an octocopterfor delivery of analyzes to Kabardino-Balkaria. Biomaterial overcame twelve kilometers in 15 minutes; in a car, this path along the roads would be forty minutes. For the experiment, “Invitro” received all the necessary permissions and coordinated the flight with the Federal Air Transport Agency.


    Law obstacles

    All drone operators used for commercial purposes must be true pilots with the appropriate license. Flights should be carried out within the direct line of sight of the operator - this problem is solved by the exclusion of “Section 333” , which introduced more than a thousand amendments to the legislation regarding the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles.

    An important issue is the airspace problem. Amazon for its solution proposes to allocate a separate airspace for high-speed drones . According to the company's plan, drones should move in space at an altitude of sixty to one hundred and twenty meters at a speed of 111 kilometers per hour. From a height of one hundred twenty to one hundred and fifty meters, Amazon wants to make it completely flightless.


    Time does not play on the side of retailers. In March 2015, Amazon received a license to conduct test deliveries of goods using drones. But the process of obtaining the document took a year and a half - during this time the drone became outdated , the company updated the drones. And it is necessary to license each model separately.

    Regulators need to monitor drones, as they can cause fatal accidents. Amateurs have already shown themselves not from the best side - including when they interfered with extinguishing a fire in California in July 2015.

    In February 2015, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued a draft commercial drone policy. But this project violates plans for the development of at least Amazon - the company did not provide for constant visual contact between operators and drones. Amazon did not refuse to work with the project, but called on management to review the rules taking into account the interests of the company.

    The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration plans to finalize the rules by June 2016.

    NASA and Verizon are working on a drone tracking system to ensure flight safety, while Google and Amazon will test it. The cost of this project costs half a million dollars, the system will help keep the devices away from restricted areas, including the White House.


    Why do retailers need drones?

    As of August 2015, the US Federal Aviation Administration issued more than seven hundred permits for the use of drones by commercial companies. But only a Flirtey startup, in collaboration with NASA, can deliver multicopter drugs .

    The route by which drugs are delivered by ground from an airport in Wise County.

    Amazon is ready to send drones with purchases - only permission from the aviation department remains. The company plans to reduce the delivery time of goods to half an hour. Using drones will reduce transport costs and serve as a driver of online sales growth. Those retailers who achieve significant cost savings will increase customer loyalty and market share because shipping costs are the main reason customers refuse orders, says Cooper Smith, BI Intelligence Analyst.

    How much will the cost of delivery decrease while reducing the time to half an hour? Amazon Prime Air shipping costs users one dollar.


    Walmart clearly wants to spur online sales. For a company, this is especially true aftera loss of twenty billion dollars in twenty minutes in mid-October. This happened after investors were warned that the yield on Walmart shares in the fiscal year 2017 would fall in the range from 6 to 12%. By reducing costs and increasing salaries at their expense, improving the efficiency of delivery and warehouse management Walmart will be able to fight with competitors. In total, the company will spend two billion dollars on stimulating sales on the Internet in the coming year. Walmart already has a ready-made infrastructure for drones: 70% of US residents have this store within a radius of eight kilometers.

    While Amazon and Google plan to deliver goods from distribution centers to customers ’homes, Walmart wants to use the drones to drop packages into customers’ cars in the parking lot andlaunch them from bases in the backs of trucks - a kind of aircraft carrier delivering purchases.

    Walmart's third innovation is commodity flow monitoring: drones will search for goods in warehouses. The assortment of the average Walmart now has one hundred twenty thousand products.

    Co-founder of Kiva Systems, an unmanned aerial vehicle development company, said the cost of shipping a two-kilogram package of drones in the last mile is ten cents. Ground delivery costs two to eight dollars. Research company ARK Investment Management talks about the cost of one dollar.

    Unmanned economy

    The US Audit Office believes that the work of drones in US airspace will bring the country's economy $ 82.1 billion by 2025 . More than one hundred thousand highly paid jobs will appear in the country. Drones will become a transformative technology that can be used in agriculture, law enforcement, in order to ensure safety in coastal waters, in military training, search and rescue operations, emergency medical assistance and so on. The global annual production of drones could grow to fourteen billion dollars by 2025 from today's four billion, says Teal Group .

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