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Drone Delivery - The Future of E-Commerce

Amazon has been shaping the e-commerce world for years, but its recent endeavor could shake the entire industry. The company recently filed a patent for a huge, floating blimp that would serve as an overhead warehouse of sorts. This warehouse would house numerous items, along with smaller aerial delivery drones to deliver those items. This concept would take the “fiction” out of “science fiction.”


Amazon is calling these huge blimps Airborne Fulfilment Centers (AFCs). In short, they would be stocked with products, piloted into the air, and then placed strategically over positions where there is a spike in demand for the items that are placed onto the AFC. When a customer places an order, a smaller drone would grab the package and fly to the ground in order to make a delivery. 

One example that Amazon used during its patent filing was to place an AFC over sporting events. Fans could place orders for snacks and souvenirs on Amazon, who would then deliver the items down to them. These AFCs could also be used to provide giant hotspots for Wi-Fi access and display advertisements on the side. The entire idea, like everything else Amazon comes up with by adopting various technology research services, is truly innovative.

How Does This Patent Affect the Future of E-Commerce?
 
It's worth noting that this whole concept is still on the drawing board. It's still quite a way into the future. There are still just too many technological blocks right now. In fact, there's a chance that it could never become a reality. Companies file crazy patents all of the time to protect their ideas, just in case.

With that said, this idea is so detailed that it's hard to call it just another crazy idea. The patent seemed to be quite detailed. Amazon filed another patent that same week too – a patent for systems related to drone defense against hacking, lightning, and projectiles. Yes, people shoot projectiles at drone for fun!

Amazon continues to pour its resources into all kinds of automation technology. That tells us that the industry is going to see some big changes in the coming years. Here’s a look at what those changes might be.

Flying Drones

We expect to see drone delivery become the go-to method for major commercial retail websites over the next ten years. As it stands right now, drones can carry up to five-pound packages while traveling a distance of approximately 20 miles. Furthermore, they can fly at speeds of up to 70 mph. Flirty has even developed a drone that's capable of delivering packages right to a consumer's doorstep.

The main bottleneck right now is the lack of government regulations when it comes to drones. Companies simply don’t want to risk huge investments only to find that new legislation passes that makes it an unviable option. Once this bottleneck is overcome – and it will be very soon – then drone delivery will start to take off.

Ground Drones

These will probably become the most viable option. Ground drones were actually created well after flying drones. They are really great at navigating sidewalks and can navigate the final mile to a customer's doorstep. As of the time of writing this post, ground drones can carry up to 9 kilograms and travel up to 10 mph.

Delivery ground drones have been used in Australia to deliver pizza. The main advantage is that they will make delivering packages much less expensive while essentially speeding up the process. This new technology will create a same-day-delivery buying experience online.
As technology continues to develop, we’ll see radical changes in the industry. The future of drone deliveries is not as far off as some people tend to believe. It’s right around the corner!

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