Future of logistics sector: Drones and warehouses in the air (Part 1)

(VLR) (Vietnam Logistics Review) Recent experiences from Amazon on sending drones for delivery from warehouse system in the air will make a complete change to traditional way of delivery- remarkable information and trend to those operating in the logistics sector in Vietnam: they will know where they are on Earth.

(Vietnam Logistics Review) Recent experiences from Amazon on sending drones for delivery from warehouse system in the air will make a complete change to traditional way of delivery- remarkable information and trend to those operating in the logistics sector in Vietnam: they will know where they are on Earth.

Drone: A pioneer step in cargo transport

Using drones for delivery was not a completely new idea. At the end of last year, the world largest convenient store chain- 7- Eleven- shared data on drone experimental deliveries for 77 customers at Reno, Nevada with Flirtey products. All the flights were performed from a store to dozen of chosen customers in the diameter of a mile (around 1.6 kilometers) around the store. Before, in September, a drone named Project Wing of Google’s completed its first experimental delivery in the U.S when it delivered burrito to students at Virginia Technology School.

However, it was Amazon that attracted great attention when performing the first delivery by drones, probably because of its investment strategy and methodical research and because of high determination of leaders of the world largest online retailer’s.

Four years ago, on the number of broadcast of 60 Minutes TV Show, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos revealed the company would soon use drones in delivery cargo of up to 2.3kg to customers’ doors in 30 minutes. He also showed a design of an impressive black-yellow 8- engine drone with Amazon logo. He presented a prospect that Prime Air would become normal someday as mail truck on the street now.

So far, after many innovation in technology and license submit to FAA, the plan named Amazon Prime Air finally had its initial steps. With the investments of millions of dollars, drones of new generation developed by the company were introduced. According to technology specifications by Amazon, the drone has aerodynamic feature combination between a chopper and a jet. It can fly 15 miles (around 24km) at the maximum height of 0.1km. Cargo is stored in its fuselage instead of hanging outside in previous generations.

In December 2016, the company made the first delivery by drone. Richard B., a resident in Cambridgeshire, the U.K, ordered an Amazon TV Fire (a game device developed by Amazon) and a package of dog food. The cargo had a weigh of 2.1kg. The drone had to fly and make a delivery in 13 minutes: the flight was in autopilot, cargo was put in automatically too.

For safety of delivery drones and for their transported cargo, Amazon submitted technological inventions that helped drone face a number of danger. To detect threats, drones are equipped with a number of sensors using radio signals, ultrasonic, sound and optical… When a threat is detected as someone throwing stone or similar things to a drone, it will have proper actions. In the case of being shot down, it will send signals so that other drones can avoid the area and Amazon staff can perform “a rescue”.

According to information from Amazon, besides those in UK, the company also has experimental labs for Prime Air in the U.S, Australia, and Israel. Those countries will be next stops for drone experimental delivery. There are some other phases for Amazon Prime Air to be completely accepted by the U.S’s FAA. However, it is only the matter of time before they are widely used as other means of cargo transport.

Building ‘nest” for drones and warehouses in the air

To prepare for the delivery plan by drone, Amazon had to register invention on drone residence. This is a nest that allows drones to come, get cargo and then deliver them at particular addresses. These nests are located in places for convenience and cost saving. Previously, Amazon had an idea drones depart from the company’s cargo drug, but then, there was a change for the fear that congestion might affect the delivery time.

However, another Amazon’s breakthrough ideas that also received a pattern in the U.S is combined drone nests with warehouse system in the air. According to Telegraph, Amazon’s future plan has a name “in the air order completion center”. When customers place orders, drones from warehouse make delivery flights and return to the base for refueling and then, make new delivery flights. Amazon’s warehouses is located in the height of 45,000 feet (around 13.7km) in city areas, above the height of commercial flights and they can go down to the height of 600m for faster delivery. At the height, the warehouses can supply food or even ready-made meals, and can be used for advertisement purpose. Drones and warehouses will connect to server on the ground by satellites or other wireless connections.

(Next… Part 2: Advance from Ceaseless Technological Innovations)

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