On December 7, 2016, Amazon delivered its first drone in Cambridge, UK. This would be the basis for Amazon’s drone investment because the UK was very positive about drone deliveries, while the USA at the time was more skeptical about launching drones everywhere.
Also Read: Amazon Makes First Real Delivery of a Drone
Thus, Amazon began delivering drones in Cambridge and in parallel developed and refined the delivery method. Hundreds of people have been assigned to work with Amazon Prime Air, as the program is called, and large-scale delivery of the drones is said to be only a few years away.
However, we are now in 2021, and as we all know, drone deliveries are not daily yet. However, a lot has happened since 2016 and today there are many companies working on drone delivery, including well-known large shipping companies like UPS and DHL. However, it is usually on stationary roads and with medicinal products for example. Likewise, many countries have relaxed their regulations to make commercial drone deliveries possible.
Wired has now Take a closer look at Amazon Prime Air In the UK they painted a picture of a largely failed project. Employees testify to an organized chaos and a dysfunctional enterprise that has collapsed from within. Managers and workers came and went to the assembly line according to anonymous testimonies and the project seemed to have completely lost focus as the years went by.
But in the intervening years, guided tours ended, commercials were removed from Amazon’s YouTube channel, and tentative promises from executives like Jeff Welk that delivery drones would be a reality “in a few months,” the company’s PR was rife. Previously the campaign disappeared. At the same time, despite being one of the first large companies to express interest in drones, Alphabet-owned Wing and UPS bypassed Amazon in the process of obtaining approval from the US authorities. Now, half a decade after completing the British test flights, they are shedding the entire British project data analysis team, Wired wrote, among other things.
Amazon is clearly downsizing its operations, but the media claims Prime Air will continue operations in the UK. So the project should not be closed entirely.
While drone deliveries have been difficult to succeed, the failure at Cambridge also appears to be largely due to regulatory issues. There appears to have been poor communication with the managers in the US and they promised more than could have been achieved. The question is whether Amazon is now slowly but surely moving the development of drones to other markets. According to the sources Wired spoke to, there are many who question whether Amazon will be able to fulfill its drone delivery dreams.
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