Amazon’s announcement that the company is looking to employ unmanned flying drones to deliver customers’ packages met a mixed response earlier this week. When Google also hinted at using robotics for deliveries though, retail experts were forced to question how technology may revolutionise the delivery customer experience of the future.
Last Sunday saw Amazon release a video demo of its planned Prime Air service, programming automated flying machines to carry and deliver small packages to pre-defined GPS co-ordinates within a 10 mile radius.
“I know this looks like science fiction, but it’s not,” affirmed Amazon’s Chief Executive Jeff Bezos in an interview with US television station CBS. “We can carry objects, we think, up to five pounds, which covers 86 per cent of items that we deliver.”
This would not only allow the retailer to cut delivery costs, but also offers the consumer a more convenient service by radically reducing delivery times to just half an hour. In future, this could even allow the e-commerce specialist to deliver to customers on the move by, for example, monitoring their co-ordinates through their smartphone, radically changing the shopping process.
Despite the obvious benefits of this system, the announcement raised several major concerns over reliability, safety and privacy. Amazon would need to guarantee that the drones can avoid collisions, protect them against being shot down and ensure they are able to accurately deliver goods to an accessible, secure location or risk negative customer feedback. In any case, development time and upcoming legislation mean the scheme is unlikely to become a reality within the next five years.
In the meantime though, other companies are also researching the use of technology to offer a smoother customer delivery experience. Google revealed that it is investing in a robotics department this week, with specialists suggesting the search giant could be considering the use of delivery robots in combination with self-driving cars.
While the specifics remain to be decided, this week’s news suggests innovation could overhaul the delivery process in the next decade, creating a new standard of multichannel customer experience.
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