The application filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office, which was written in 2015 and published last week, included a number of drawings of drones flying in and out of tall cylinder-shaped buildings that Amazon wants to locate in central metropolitan areas. The buildings would also allow for traditional vehicle deliveries and could possibly include a self-service location for customers to pick up items in person. If Amazon moves forward with its vision of urban drone centers outlined in the patent application, the Seattle-based corporation could also likely face a range of obstacles in the regulation of the nascent industry of commercial drones – including attempts to control their movement and local zoning and development laws. The company also made headlines last year with a patent for flying warehouses, called "airborne fulfillment centers", that could be located above metropolitan areas, functioning like giant airships coordinating drone deliveries.
Amazon has applied for a patent that gives more insight into the infrastructure it may be planning for its drone delivery program, Amazon Prime Air. The Seattle e-retailer, whose $13.7 billion deal for Whole Foods is shaking up the grocery and delivery business, entered the pilot-testing period for drone deliveries in December after it legally delivered a package using a drone in the United Kingdom. In late December, it was awarded a patent for a flying warehouse where drones could pick up packages. Drone deliveries would only be available in good weather and daylight, and Amazon Prime Air would only be able to deliver packages weighing five pounds or less.
Amazon has registered a patent to do this. Amazon has, after all, also registered a patent for huge flying drone warehouses, like blimps that spew miniature versions of themselves out into the world below, a design built to deliver packages so quickly that customers will barely have ordered the thing before it shows up at their door. Doing this requires lots of drones and lots of packages. All those packages must be stored somewhere, and if drones are the future of delivery, those storage centers must cater to them.
Carter is responsible for setting the technology agenda across FedEx's various operating companies, including its planes-and-trucks Express shipping service and office-and-home Ground delivery service, which operate in 220 countries. He recently told MIT Technology Review about some of FedEx's emerging technology initiatives in artificial intelligence and robotics. Carter says the company is working with the startup Peloton Technology, whose semi-autonomous technology electronically links trucks into small caravan groups called platoons. Satish Jindel, who heads the transport and logistics consultancy SJ Consulting Group, thinks that FedEx is making the right bets for a closely scrutinized public company.
Cognitive computing, used in artificial intelligence (AI) applications, enables machines to learn from data by applying statistical models to understand patterns from occurrences over time. Along with drone package delivery, cognitive computing will even facilitate simulated drone missions and drone fleet coordination by dynamically generating mission plans and optimizing them continuously to ensure accuracy and efficient use of resources. The combination of cloud and cognitive computing and advancements in AI algorithms will provide immense computing power in the areas of temporal reasoning, geospatial reasoning, natural language processing and semantic search, thereby moving marketing platforms from a B2C to a B2I(business 2 individual) model. The combination of cloud computing, big data, neural networks and mobile computing will make it possible for brands to understand the context in which its users operate.
In March this year, PWC released a report saying that 10 million UK jobs are at risk of being replaced by AI within 15 years. Insurance companies are already dinosaurs and while we will still need insurance, we don't need our current insurance companies. Those expensive on-site skilled jobs are gone forever, replaced by massive automation and AI from mining operations to plant operations to administration. Australia, as a home of the corporate oligopoly, suffers the associated elitism, complacency, lack of innovation and resistance to change which are characteristics of all oligopolies.
Japanese shipping companies are working with shipbuilders to develop self-piloting cargo ships. Shipping firms Mitsui OSK Lines and Nippon Yusen are working with shipbuilders including Japan Marine United to share both costs and expertise, according to the Nikkei Asian Review. Nippon Yusen has already been working on technology to enable ships to use data to assess collision risks. In 2016, Rolls-Royce announced plans to develop unmanned cargo ships, starting with remote-controlled vessels that could be operational as soon as 2020.
The plan to have so-called "smart ships" moving around the world is being driven by a consortium of Japanese shipping companies who are working with shipbuilders to develop self-piloting cargo ships. At the heart of the ships will be a form of artificial intelligence. The idea is to reduce costs and to improve efficiency. From then on a human captain will be based on-shore, monitoring the progress of the boats as they navigate the world's marine trade routes.
Japanese shipping companies want to build self-navigating cargo ships. Japanese groups aren't the only ones working to create autonomous cargo ships. Last year, Rolls-Royce announced plans to develop remote-controlled ships that it hopes to have ready in the very near future. The developers hope to launch the Japanese smart ships by 2025, which is gearing up to be the year for self-navigating vehicles since Honda just announced that's also its goal for perfecting autonomous cars.
Building your moats Recent history has not been kind to pure play "pipeline" businesses, owning high quality tangible and intangible assets, when "platforms" (whose assets are hard to copy like community and the resources its members contribute) enter the same marketplace – "platforms" usually have won. But there is also a "platform" part of Apple which complements the "pipeline" parts of products, retail and branding. By 2015, iPhone generated 92% of the industry's profit and only Samsung on the Android operating system (from Google) made money. Amazon is a "platform" business and accounts for 51 cents of every dollar spent on online retail owing to its broad product offering and Prime membership benefits (Prime is Amazon's premium home delivery service and attracts a growing following of highly loyal and profitable customers).