There’s no denying that online shopping has revolutionized the way we purchase goods. It has made it possible to do your shopping and get everything you need without ever leaving the house. Perhaps the most annoying thing about it, however, is how long things take to ship. The fastest you can get is one day shipping – but not without a $9 fee. Amazon has set out to end this wait for as little as $1. They’ve developing a system that allows orders to be delivered in 30 minutes or less. This seems quite impossible because of the standard shipping companies, but Amazon isn’t using companies like UPS and Fed-ex. They’re developing and using drones. This innovative new program called Prime Air utilizes drones to deliver your package directly to your doorstep in a short 30 minutes. This may be the future of online delivery.
However, with many great ideas, come issues and limitations. The biggest, and probably most disappointing limitation for most of us, is that the drones can only cover the 10 mile radius surrounding the shipping centers. This means anywhere outside of this area will not have access to Prime Air as a shipping option. With so few areas within shipping distance, this seems useless to most of us.
It’s almost silly that Amazon would create all this when it’s really only useful for a small percentage of people, but this is only the beginning. Obviously the drones aren’t perfect in this early stage but with further development and experimentation, they will be improved and provide more realistic uses for of us. Another detail that could be deemed a weakness has to do with the drones themselves. As you can imagine, they’re not very big, weighing only 55 lbs. Due to their small size, the drones will only be able to deliver packages up to 5 lbs. in weight. This may not seem like a huge disadvantage as most packages ordered from Amazon weigh under this anyway, but it could lead to problems down the road when customers begin demanding larger package delivery via Prime Air. However, that problem will arise only in the very distant future as most people are already so impressed by the idea of 30 minute shipping that they would accept the weight problem as a necessary limit.
Regardless of the imperfections, Amazon is making a huge leap in the manner and speed of delivery. However, there are still many steps that need to be taken in order for this to become a reality. In March 2015, the FAA (Federal Aviation Association) granted Amazon the right to use and operate the drones for safety testing, so it’s only a matter of time before they get full rights to use the drones for delivery. Amazon plans to have Prime Air up and running as soon as some time in the next 4-5 years. The future is fast approaching, and Amazon is one of the few companies leading the way. In a couple years, not only will we be seeing airplanes and jets in the sky, but drones as well. So in 2020, if you find yourself in an airplane, keep an eye out for the Amazon drones and the packages going along with them.