Amazon keeps pushing the envelope with new technology to make deliveries faster and more efficient. In the wake of recent controversy around wristbands for warehouse workers, Jeff Bezos has just been granted a patent for a delivery drone. Will this be the future of deliveries?
With delivery drones, get your package with just a gesture
The patent shows a drone equipped with cameras and sensors (for sound and light) that can recognize human gestures and respond accordingly. The small robot could be able to recognize, for example, the wave of a hand, a finger pointing in a certain direction, or a thumbs up–in addition to lights and words. The patent was filed in July 2016, but news of it just went public a few days ago.
The Seattle-based company’s description of the postal-drones said that “The human recipient and/or the other humans can communicate with the vehicle using human gestures to aid the vehicle along its path to the delivery location.” The document in question contains numerous details about the technology that Amazon wants to develop –communication, navigation and gesture recognition. On paper, it’s a technologically challenging and rather ambitious project, but the company has not yet clarified whether it intends to actually follow through or not. One thing that should be mentioned is that this delivery drone isn’t the only patent filed by Amazon. In fact, among the other works in progress are a mirror that lets you virtually try on clothes, and an automatically self-destructing drone.
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Not just Amazon: Samsung plans a drone with facial recognition
Amazon started testing the waters for delivery drones in England in 2016. They also collaborated with Google, Boeing and GE to create Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM), a system to keep track of unmanned aerial systems, aiming to control low-altitude air traffic for drones. Clearly, the e-commerce giant seems really serious about the idea of an imminent future when we can all receive products right outside our doors within 30 minutes of ordering. And it would all be guaranteed by the Amazon Prime Air service, for quick drone deliveries with zero impact on the environment or road traffic.
Google and Boeing aren’t the only ones though. Samsung is also planning a drone that can recognize gestures and facial features. Essentially, it looks like the biggest technology and e-commerce brands are exploring the range of possibilities that drones present. It’s estimated that logistical inefficiency wastes 9 billion Euros a year — an enormous figure that companies could save if deliveries by drones were became viable.
Amazon Prime prices increase from April 4th
News of the delivery drones was joined soon after with another new development that incensed Italian users. The prices of Amazon Prime dramatically increases from the 4th of April. The cost of annual membership will almost double, from €19.99 to €36. Many members have argued that the hike isn’t justified by the extra services compared to what’s already included. For customers whose accounts expired before the 4th of May, they can still take advantage of one more year of the previous price of just under €20. But Amazon has instated a new loyalty plan: €4.99 a month for a monthly membership to Prime, with the same conditions and services as the annual plan.
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