Amazon com­pletes first drone de­liv­ery

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Amazon said yes­ter­day it com­pleted its first de­liv­ery by drone, in what the global on­line gi­ant hopes will be­come a trend in au­to­mated ship­ments by air. The de­liv­ery to a cus­tomer near Cam­bridge, Eng­land, was an­nounced in a tweet by Amazon founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive Jeff Be­zos. “First-ever #Ama­zonPrimeAir cus­tomer de­liv­ery is in the books. 13 min - click to de­liv­ery,” he wrote of the Dec 7 or­der. A video on Amazon’s web page showed the de­liv­ery process - with a quad­copter drone de­liv­er­ing an Amazon Fire TV box and a bag of pop­corn to a cus­tomer identified only as Richard B.

Amazon, which has been test­ing drone de­liv­er­ies in the US and else­where, has on sev­eral oc­ca­sions com­plained that the reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment in the United States for these au­to­mated de­liv­er­ies is more cum­ber­some. In its video, Amazon noted that it is work­ing with two cus­tomers re­ceiv­ing drone de­liv­er­ies in the Cam­bridge area and soon hoped to ex­pand to “dozens” near its ware­house.

Amazon is not the only group work­ing on drone de­liv­er­ies. Google par­ent Al­pha­bet has a sim­i­lar project known as Wing and some re­ports say US re­tail be­he­moth Wal-Mart is also study­ing drone de­liv­er­ies. In the US, the first com­mer­cial drone de­liv­ery was made in July when con­ve­nience store 7-Eleven, with drone startup Flirtey, trans­ported a chicken sand­wich, hot cof­fee and donuts to a cus­tomer near Reno, Ne­vada.

Project Wing an­nounced plans this year to de­liver bur­ri­tos in part­ner­ship with US food chain Chipo­tle to stu­dents at Vir­ginia Tech Univer­sity, one of the cam­puses where drone re­search is be­ing con­ducted. US of­fi­cials ear­lier this year an­nounced the first steps in drone reg­u­la­tions, cov­er­ing ap­pli­ca­tions such as news­gath­er­ing and com­mer­cial flights over pop­u­lated ar­eas.

But the first set of rules stopped short of al­low­ing some long-sought ap­pli­ca­tions, in­clud­ing de­liv­ery of goods by re­tail­ers like Amazon in pop­u­lated ar­eas. Amazon got Bri­tish ap­proval this year for flying drones that are no longer within sight of their op­er­a­tors in ru­ral and sub­ur­ban ar­eas; hav­ing one per­son op­er­ate sev­eral highly au­to­mated drones; and test­ing de­vices to make the drones able to iden­tify and avoid ob­sta­cles. The world’s largest on­line re­tailer, Amazon raised eye­brows in late 2013 with its plan to air­lift small parcels to cus­tomers by drone in se­lect mar­kets less than 30 min­utes af­ter or­ders are re­ceived. — AFP

ALEPPO: A wounded Syr­ian woman from the Al-Sukari neigh­bor­hood is helped onto the back of a truck as she flees dur­ing the gov­ern­ment forces’ military op­er­a­tion to re­take re­main­ing rebel-held ar­eas in this embattled north­ern city yes­ter­day. —AFP

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