Drones seem to be ready to take over the skies, but are they really ready for prime time? Can they deliver the goods? And how does this change delivery services around the globe? We may soon find out the answers to some of those questions.
Amazon is the latest company to receive FAA approval to operate a fleet of delivery drones. The approval gives Amazon Prime Air broad privileges to “safely and efficiently deliver packages to customers.” Amazon will test its drones with the goal of achieving 30-minute deliveries for packages of up to five pounds within a 15-mile radius of a warehouse. The company has been working on using drones for deliveries since 2013, continually innovating the drone models. The FAA approval gives Amazon permission to operate a fleet and is not tied to a specific model of drone.
Amazon isn’t the only game in town though. Last April, Wing (owned by Alphabet) received FAA approval for commercial deliveries. UPS also received approval to operate a fleet of drones as an airline last year. However, in all these cases, widespread use is likely still years in the future as the FAA needs to establish new, automated air-traffic systems as drone operations will exceed what human air controllers can handle.
Ready for your drone delivery?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
- Show Amazon drone video: https://youtu.be/3HJtmx5f1Fc
- Optional: Here is an older version of the Amazon drone model: https://youtu.be/MR9PoBAssw0
- Show competing drone services:
- Video with Wing drone: https://www.wsj.com/video/see-this-drone-deliver-coffee-and-divide-an-australian-suburb/7193EC7A-976F-4291-ADD7-5598BD0BC0D3.html
- UPS drone video: https://youtu.be/xx9_6OyjJrQ
- Discuss which industries and services will be most impacted by drones. Why these?
- Will drones benefit consumers? How?
- Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for drone delivery services. What will be most important to consumers?
Sources: Associated Press; CNBC; New York Times; Wall Street Journal; other news sources