Last November, internet retail giant Amazon announced plans to begin a new service, Amazon Prime Air, that would deliver customers’ orders within 30 minutes using drones.
On December 7, the company finally completed its first delivery to a lucky customer in Cambridgeshire, England. The customer, only known as Richard B., reportedly received his order of an Amazon Fire streaming device and popcorn after the drone took a flight of only thirteen minutes from the warehouse to his door.
Trials are starting small, with a few customers, but will slowly grow to include dozens of customers and eventually hundreds. This may only be a tiny fraction of the total packages Amazon delivers daily, but the impact could still be huge.
More packages delivered by drones could cut down on the demand the company has for gas-guzzling trucks, thus shrinking Amazon’s carbon footprint. Also, with customers getting orders faster, they may be compelled to order online more often and reduce the need to travel using their own vehicles.
As of now, drone delivery seems more of a novelty, especially considering other companies’ trials, which involved flying burritos and drone-delivered 7/11 Slurpees. With a company as large as Amazon proving the viability of such systems, though, drone delivery could get a welcome vote of confidence from consumers and other companies alike.