Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos has announced that the company is testing unmanned drones [BBC News] to deliver goods to its customers, with the aim of getting packages weighing up to 2.3kg to customers within 30 minutes of ordering. The story is picking up wide coverage – see the video in this Forbes report, despite this being still seemingly a long way from getting approval from all relevant authorities. But as Bezos hinted “part of the motivation behind the mini drones was to make sure Amazon remains on the cutting edge of the retail industry.” [Sky News]
At FT Innovate 2013 in November, Capgemini Senior Vice President and European CTO Ron Tolido and UK CTO Simon Short spoke on how cloud and other technologies are overturning current business models – truly disruptive digital transformation. In part of their talk with Ravi Mattu, Ron spoke about the use of drones in the coconut oil business. I asked Ron what he thought of this latest news:
The announcement today from Amazon that they are exploring the use of drones to deliver packages (pizza, anybody?) is yet another illustration of a quickly emerging market. One with almost unlimited possibilities.
Actually, it was also drones that brought victory to the winning team during the Marico episode of our global TV programme Super Techies Show: the team envisioned a swarm of low-cost drones that would quickly map the number of coconuts (as well as their size and ripeness) in a grove, enabling Marico to predict much more accurately how many coconuts would be available on the market at any given day.
Drones can be used to map and watch remote territories, for example to protect wildlife but they are also being considered for automatic inspection of dikes in the Netherlands (no more Hans Brinker needed there). It all fits in the bigger trend that we described in TechnoVision 2014 as Let’s Get Physical: the seamless fusion of virtual and physical worlds.
As drones might be very low cost and quite small, it is not unthinkable that within a decade or less we might be equipped with small, personal drones. And they might be very useful indeed, if only to take spectacular selfies.
There’s clearly something in the air.