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Amazon.com and UPS Envision Eventually Delivering Packages Via Drones

12/1/2013
<p>Portion of a graphic from the Washington Post describing a type of drone that Amazon might use to delivery packages. As of September 2020 this service had not been introduced.</p>

Portion of a graphic from the Washington Post describing a type of drone that Amazon might use to delivery packages. As of September 2020 this service had not been introduced.

In an interview on December 1, 2013 Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon.com, outlined how he envisioned using drones to deliver packages in as little as 30 minutes. Declaring himself an optimist, he predicted that delivery drones could be a reality in as little as five years. 

Bezos intended to be among the first to use such technology once the Federal Aviation Administration finalizes rules for commercial drones later this decade. Regulations in force in 2013 forbid companies from flying unmanned vehicles. 

On December 3, 2013, The Washington Post, owned by Bezos, displayed an excellent information graphic on Bezos's proposed delivery drone at this link.

On December 8, 2013 The New York Times published an article entitled "Disruptions: At Your Door in Minutes, Delivered by Robot." The article also stated that UPS (United Parcel Service) was researching the use of drones for future delivery services:

"But given the explosive growth of e-commerce, some experts say the shipping business is in for big changes. United Parcel Service, which traces its history to 1907, delivers more than four billion packages and documents a year. It operates a fleet of more than 95,000 vehicles and 500 aircraft. The ubiquitous Brown is a $55 billion-plus-a-year business. And, like Amazon, U.P.S. is reportedly looking into drones. So is Google. More and more e-commerce companies are making a point of delivering things quickly the old-fashioned way — with humans.

"Some of the dreamers in the technology industry are dreaming even bigger. It won’t be just drones, they insist. Robots and autonomous vehicles — think Google’s driverless car — could also disrupt the delivery business.

“As cities become more automated, you’re going to start to see on-demand delivery systems that look like small delivery vehicles and can bring you whatever you want to wherever you are,” said Bryant Walker Smith, a fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School and a member of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford. “Rather than go to the store to buy some milk, a robot or drone will go to a warehouse and get it for you, then deliver it.”

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