Friday, February 6, 2015

Amazon has some competition. Well, duh...

Amazon, known for their automated/robotic warehouses, said they were thinking about drone delivery of packages in 2013. It looks like the huge on-line Chinese store, Alibaba, is beating them out of the gate.

They just announced that they're planning a very small pilot, delivering 450 packets of ginger tea to some parts of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou within one hour of the order being placed. This test is in partnership with YTO Express, who are managing permits, logistics, etc.

There have been a couple of other small pilots around the world (one in Australia in 2013 and a couple of food delivery pilots at tech conferences), but this one is notable because of the sheer size of Alibaba – they just went through the largest IPO in history last year ($25Billion.)

There are lots of regulations regarding drone use (as well as safety concerns) and these will likely get in the way of such a service here in the US, but robotic / drone delivery inside the confines of plants and warehouses might make sense.

Are there any locations in your facilities where drone inspection or delivery might make sense?

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