There has been a lot of buzz about logistics lately — more specifically, the future of logistics. Two big stories from two big tech companies hit this week.
The first is about Amazon testing a drone delivery system they call “Prime Air” for last-mile delivery. The technology is still under development and has some regulation hurdles to overcome, but it is a solution to a difficult logistics feat — same hour delivery. The idea of being able to order something one minute and a half hour later being able to enjoy that something is pretty exciting. Of course this service wouldn’t be for all items or all customers — instead it would be focused on delivering products less than 5 pounds in urban areas in close proximity of distribution centers. But, that would still cover my household and we order everything from Amazon. I really mean everything: in the last month alone, we have had cases of soup, cases of cereal bars, a bobble-head doll of Walter White, toothbrush heads, hair gel, numerous CD’s, a few video games, a handful of books, printer toner, plus other essential items delivered to our door. Just think what we would order if it would arrive in a half hour!
- CBS 60 Minutes Story: Amazon Unveils futuristic plan: Delivery by drone
- Here’s a YouTube video of the proposed technology.
The second story comes from Google — who has been acquiring companies with a focus on automation and many of the applications are in supply chain and logistics. The recent New York Times article, “Google Puts Money on Robots, Using the Man Behind Android” makes me think that Google thinks logistics is an exciting field with lots of opportunities — I do too!
Some quotes from the article:
“A realistic case, according to several specialists, would be automating portions of an existing supply chain that stretches from a factory floor to the companies that ship and deliver goods to a consumer’s doorstep.”
“The opportunity is massive,” said Andrew McAfee, a principal research scientist at the M.I.T. Center for Digital Business. “There are still people who walk around in factories and pick things up in distribution centers and work in the back rooms of grocery stores.”
Logistics is pretty cool, huh!