Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Drone Delivery System

Delivery within minutes at your doorstep will become a reality in a few years. A lot of online stores are in the market promising the best delivery in minimum time; but is it really possible to get your fresh vegetables or a pair of shoes within a few minutes at your doorstep.

As we know in today’s tech savvy world, online shopping is on a boom and every online retailer is trying to provide the best of services to their customers. Some of the best in business are Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal etc. World over, Amazon has always been one step ahead and it has now started working on the drone delivery system, called Amazon Prime Air. Amazon first unveiled the idea for its Prime Air service in a video ( released in December 2013. According to a leading English daily, sources aware of the development said Amazon will make India and not US as the launch-pad for its plan to deliver packages via drones or unmanned aerial vehicles. And it will start with a trial in Mumbai and Bangalore where the company has its warehouses. As per the report, the drone will carry payloads upto 2.26 kg which covers 86 percent of products sold on Amazon.

There is yet another rival for Amazon in this field and that is Google! Google has a similar concept of unmanned delivery system called Project Wing. It will enable people to get products delivered “in short order”, even in the most populated areas - according to Dave Vos, the project’s leader at a NASA - sponsored conference on drones on July 29. Project Wing first came to light in August 2014, when test flights of early prototypes were conducted in Australia.

In order to deploy these drones in the skies, drones not only need to communicate with people on the ground, but also with the other high-fliers be it another drone carrying packages or some drone taking aerial surveys or any other work as Vos said.  Also and without any intent to add humor, there are actual birds in the sky too!!!  Despite of all these technical and natural difficulties and even if these difficulties are overcome, there are still many other obstacles which needs to be figured out like the aviation regulations posed by the Governments. And if due to some reason (communication loss or technical mishaps) the drone crashes, possibly injuring people and/or property, the damages would not only cost a company in financial terms but could also possibly lead to the closure of whole project itself. So companies have to test these drones thoroughly before deploying in the market.

It is anybody’s guess as to whether Google, Amazon or maybe some other player in the market will emerge a winner in this exciting technological race. What is certain is that it will be a big challenge for any of them to shape this ambitious project into reality and get this futuristic delivery system deployed on the field. The numerous stringent laws regarding aviation rules across the world might be a reason why Amazon is starting this project in India as India lacks the more strident regulations on commercial drone usage prevalent elsewhere. Whatever be the reason, the outcome will be awaited with eagerness across the Indian retail market!

- By Anoop Bajpai

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