UBER ATTEMPTS TO LAUNCH NEW PROGRAM CALLED UBER EXPRESS
By now most of you are aware of Uber, the company that has attempted to make taxis a thing of the past. Now they are at it again with an ambitious new plan to begin delivering food by drone within the next few years. The CEO has explained that the company has been working on this for a while now. That is to be expected since Amazon and UPS have already expressed interest in doing all their deliveries by drone as well.
Uber is now looking to hire an executive to head the new delivery program known internally as UberExpress. “It’s my personal belief that a key to solving urban mobility is flying burgers, in any city,”Khosrowshahi said at the companies Uber Elevate Summit in May of this year, also noting that the company was one of the few chosen to participate in a government-approved commercial drone test program in San Diego. They hope to have this service operating as a part of their UberEats brand by 2021. Curiously enough Uber has also stated that they wish to create a flying taxi program (probably not going to happen).
AMAZON ATTEMPTS TO CREATE A NEW PROGRAM CALLED PRIME AIR
Along with Uber, Amazon is attempting to completely revolutionize the way packages are delivered. The program being proposed is called Prime Air. Recently Amazon has done everything imaginable to speed up deliveries with algorithms to anticipate your orders, efficient robots working in the warehouses and even the Prime Now service which delivers certain items to your doorstep just hours after ordering them. The issue they still have is that they still rely on delivery trucks to ship the items from the warehouse to your home which severely limits their speed.
The Prime Now service only works if you happen to live close to one of Amazon’s warehouses and no matter how quickly orders can be processed they can’t change that. The Prime Air program was first proposed in 2013 where it was met with heavy skepticism. Since then they have cleared some major hurdles but it’s still not quite ready for prime time just yet.
GETTING DRONES OFF THE GROUND
Large Corporations like Amazon and Uber are known for being overly ambitious. Despite the fact that the technology is sound there are many problems with having drones flying everywhere with packages. The reality is that getting these drones off the ground (literally and figuratively) will take a lot of work and a lot of cooperation from the FAA. Some countries in Europe seem more open to the idea of drones than in the US and businesses may use that to perform tests in order to make a better case to the FAA.
Besides getting the powers that be to allow drones in the air there are other problems. First there’s the issue of what to do with the drones when they are not in use. Amazon in particular has suggested more than once that they could use street lights or cell towers as “docking stations” where the drones could hang out in between deliveries. Do we really want tons of drones hanging on street lights in every major city? The local governments themselves would have to be on board which is not likely in the near future. They would require some extra convincing.
Then you have to think about whether the Home Owners Association’s of major neighborhoods would fight against companies landing drones carrying packages on to people’s doorsteps. Amazon has proposed the idea that perhaps the drone could just drop the package by parachute which sounds utterly ridiculous. At least they are trying.
The drones flying overhead to deliver our packages will have an awesome view don’t you think?
Despite the problems programs like Prime Air have become more feasible now than when the idea was first thrown around. Amazon’s drones in particular have improved to the point where they have a longer range (15 miles), make less noise, and have better collision avoiding software in their programming.
Recently the FAA has put more relaxed rules in place allowing commercial outfits to operate drones without lengthy authorization procedures. They also changed the rule that said drones had to be operated within the pilot’s line of sight. This change is what made the idea of Prime Air or Uber Express a more plausible concept in reality. In fact, the very first drone delivery was made by Amazon in Cambridge, England. Only 13 minutes lapsed between the time when the customer clicked order and when the package was delivered on the customers doorstep. Given this recent success it is only a matter of time before deliveries like this are possible in the US and in other parts of the world.