Tag Archives: amazon

Amazon has filed a patent for its drone delivery systems

Amazon teased consumers with drone delivery during a 2017 Super Bowl commercial, though the ad bore a disclaimer: “Prime Air is not available in some states (or any really). Yet.”

Back in December 2016, Amazon made its first successful customer delivery in a trial area in the United Kingdom; in March 2017, the online retail giant completed a test delivery at its invite-only MARS 2017 robotics conference in Palm Springs. Now that it has filed a series of patents for drone delivery systems, Amazon seems to be following through on promises that Prime Air will eventually become a reality.

An old joke says, “You don’t need a parachute to skydive. You only need one if you want to skydive twice.” This logic applies to dropping packages—which could contain any number of fragile products—from the air. Amazon’s latest approved patent reveals a design that incorporates a parachute directly into a package label, according to documents obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trade Office.

Using these labels, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)—or drones—could deploy packages from the air and let them drift safely to the ground. This would reduce delivery times by eliminating the need to land and take off. Packages could even potentially be dropped without the drone stopping, which makes it possible to use multiple types of UAVs instead of just those that can hover and land.

The patent also states that “different sized parachute canopies can be used for different sized shipping container’s descent appropriately to prevent damage to the contents of the shipping container,” suggesting that Amazon would scale the technology for a wide range of package sizes and weights. The patent also describes multiple ways UAVs might carry a parachute-labeled package, including mechanical arms, a suction system, magnets, and retractable shelves.

The retailer also received recent patents for a magnet-based delivery system and a coiled spring model, so it seems likely that the company will use a combination of many technologies to get drone packages on doorsteps.

Amazon continues to wait on Federal Aviation Administration approval before it can complete more widespread Prime Air distribution testing. This process will most likely take several more years, but there is little doubt that the company plans to drop its packages from the skies as soon as it is able.

Story by Jason McDowell @ inbound logistics

Amazon Launches Its Own Social Network, Spark

Amazon logo on a flatscreen next to two gears

Amazon wants all shopping addicts to stay in touch, so the company decided to launch its own social network, Spark. This network is meant to bring all Amazon users together, and make it easier for them to find more people with the same interests.

Amazon decided that people who like shopping should have a place of their own to socialize and exchange ideas. Therefore, it came up with the idea of creating a social network called Spark. Here, people should be able to ask for advice regarding places where they can buy certain items, decoration or household ideas, or merely talk to other shoppers who like the same things.

The first time you access Spark, you will have to fill in a list of interests. Then, based on this list, Amazon will show you relevant posts and custom content coming from other customers who share your interests. You can even communicate with these people, by commenting on their posts or even by just sending them smiles.

You can also buy products directly from your feed

Apart from stories, customers can also share products. These products are available for sale on Amazon, and you can purchase them by just tapping on them. Those you can buy are market by an icon of a shopping bag placed next to them. You can post your own stories, or share whatever products you like from the field placed on top of your feed.

There’s no easy business to launch an entirely new social network. However, Spark is easy to use, and comes embedded into the Amazon app. Rumors say the company might be working on a new social app, namely a messaging service called Anytime. Amazon seems to be determined to occupy a place among social media companies, and is doing everything it takes to get there.

Story by Ryan Harris at Mirrordaily,com

Whole Foods stock rockets 28% on $13.7 billion Amazon takeover deal

Shares of Whole Foods Market rocketed 28 percent on Friday after Amazon said it plans to acquire the grocery store chain for $42 a share, in a deal valued at $13.7 billion.

Amazon’s offer represents a 27 percent premium to Whole Foods’ closing price on Thursday. With Whole Foods shares trading around Amazon’s offer price, investors appear to be speculating that another suitor could make a play for the grocery chain.

Whole Foods has been under pressure from activist investor Jana Partners and money manager Neuberger Berman, which have called on Whole Foods to sell itself. The investors have criticized Whole Foods for its poor performance, and have suggested the chain could be merged with another grocer.

“This partnership presents an opportunity to maximize value for Whole Foods Market’s shareholders, while at the same time extending our mission and bringing the highest quality, experience, convenience and innovation to our customers,” John Mackey, Whole Foods’ CEO, said in a statement.

Mackey will remain CEO of the grocery store chain after the deal closes, and the store will continue to operate under the Whole Foods brand.

Amazon has long been pushing to expand its online grocery business, seeing it as an emerging opportunity. Currently, very few people purchase their groceries online even as more shoppers switch to buying other goods that way.

Some analysts had seen Wal-Mart being best positioned to compete in the next phase of growth in online shopping because it was going to be able to use its vast footprint of stores to help distribute products ordered online. Also, Wal-Mart has been successful with its so-called click-and-collect model, where shoppers order online but stop by the store to pickup their orders.

Meanwhile, Whole Foods has been seen as a laggard in the online shift. Their stores tend to be in urban markets where there was an overlap with Amazon Fresh and Prime Now.

News that the e-commerce giants buying grocery store Whole Foods sent grocery stocks reeling on Friday.

Kroger sank nearly 16 percent before the bell. Supervalu dropped 11.5 percent while Costco dropped 6.5 percent. Sprouts Farmers sank 9.2 percent.

“This is an earthquake rattling through the grocery sector as well as the retail world,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com, told CNBC in an email. “We can only imagine the technological innovation that Amazon will bring to the purchasing experience for the consumer. Now, we can see in hindsight that its recent dithering around the brick-and-mortar experience, as an experiment, was only a rumbling of the seismic event in the offing.”

Shares of Amazon were up about 3 percent following the news. The deal is expected to close in the second half year.

Jana Partners did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Story by Sarah Whitten at Cnbc.com

Wal-Mart Asks Employees to Deliver Packages on Their Way Home

walmart

 

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is testing a program that sends store employees to deliver online orders at the end of their shifts, a new push by the world’s biggest retailer to use its large physical footprint to match Amazon.com Inc.’s convenient options for web purchases.

Workers can opt in to earn extra money by making deliveries using their own cars. They’re assigned packages based on where they live so the route aligns with their commute home, the company said June 1 in a blog post. Wal-Mart didn’t specify how the employees will be compensated. The test began at three locations in Arkansas and New Jersey.

Wal-Mart ranks No. 3 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in North America.

Wal-Mart is tapping into its 4,700 U.S. stores and more than a million retail employees as it seeks to redefine itself in an age of e-commerce dominated by Amazon, which offers delivery of some products in as little as an hour in some cities. Online spending will increase by 16% this year — more than four times the pace of overall retail — to reach $462 billion, according to EMarketer Inc.

About 90% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Wal-Mart, and the company is using those locations as shipping hubs to compete with Amazon on the last mile of delivery — the most expensive part of getting goods to customers. By using existing workers in their own cars, Wal-Mart could create a vast network with little upfront cost, similar to how Uber Technologies Inc. created a ride-hailing service without owning any cars.

“Imagine all the routes our associates drive to and from work and the houses they pass along the way,” said Marc Lore, who took over Wal-Mart’s e-commerce operation last year after the retailer purchased his startup, Jet.com, for $3.3 billion. “This test could be a game-changer.”

Many online orders in tests have been delivered overnight using store employees, Lore said, showing how the initiative could also be used to narrow delivery times.

The lines between internet and brick-and-mortar commerce are blurring as retailers — including Amazon — try to accommodate a variety of shopping preferences. Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart offers free two-day delivery on millions of items to compete with Amazon’s standard delivery time. It also lets customers buy groceries online and pick them up at stores and offers discounts to online shoppers who pick up items at stores rather than having them delivered.

Amazon, meanwhile, has stepped up its experimentation with physical locations. It’s slowly opening physical bookstores in big cities around the U.S., which double as showrooms for Amazon gadgets such as its Kindle readers and Echo voice-activated speakers. The company opened two drive-in grocery pickup kiosks in its hometown of Seattle earlier this month, its first attempt to match the click-and-collect options rolled out by Wal-Mart and other big-box competitors.

By Spencer Soper @ Bloomberg News in association with Transport Topics

Amazon asks FAA for go-ahead to test its delivery drones

Amazon is asking regulators to allow the company to test its delivery drones a little bit closer to home.amazon

The online retail giant sent a letter Wednesday asking the Federal Aviation Administration to ease its restrictions on drone-testing in the U.S. in order to allow Amazon to experiment with its unmanned aircraft outdoors near the company’s Seattle headquarters instead of one of the six FAA-approved sites elsewhere in the country.

Amazon’s developmental efforts are part of its plan to one day launch a drone delivery program, called Amazon Prime Air, to carry packages as heavy as five pounds to customers’ homes with drones that can fly as fast as 50 miles per hour. The company’s announcement of the idea gained quite a bit of attention last year, despite an uncertain timeframe for implementation.

The FAA has maintained that unmanned aerial vehicles are only to be used for recreational purposes, and not for commercial reasons, until it is able to come up with rules by which it can regulate the industry. The agency also said last year that it will sanction six outdoor drone-testing sites in the U.S., located in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia.

But, Amazon AMZN 3.96% wants to move its testing out of its indoor facilities in order to accelerate the development of its aerial fleet and the company is trying to sell the FAA on the idea that its research would ultimately benefit consumers by offering “enormous consumer benefits by delivering packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.”

“One day, seeing Amazon Prime Air will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today, resulting in enormous benefits for consumers across the nation,” the company says in its letter. “We respectfully submit this petition for exemption so that Prime Air can be ready to launch commercial operations as soon as eventually permitted by subsequent FAA action.”