For all of Amazon's grand plans regarding delivery drones, it still needs to figure out concepts we take for granted with traditional courier methods. Namely, figuring out how to drop off your latest order without destroying anything (including the UAV itself) during transit and landing. That's where advanced computer vision comes in from Jeff Bezos' new team of Austria-based engineers, according to The Verge. The group invented methods for reconstructing geometry from images and contextually recognizing environmental objects, giving the drones the ability to differentiate between, say, a swimming pool and your back patio. Both are flat surfaces, but one won't leave your PlayStation VR headset waterlogged after drop-off.
Inc. surprised some with one of its next-gen commerce announcements. Amazon Go, which promises to eliminate the checkout altogether, generated headlines in mainstream media and prompted some to contemplate the potential demise of retail as we know it. Lost in all this hype is the fact that the brick-and-mortar apocalypse is no more likely today than it was before Amazon's recent endeavor. Of course, Amazon, which is the world's largest internet retailer, has set the standard for commerce reinvention with fast delivery, near-invisible payments and other perks tied to its Amazon Prime membership platform . Amazon has outpaced the rapid growth of digital commerce in the retail industry globally, increasing its own market share from 12% in 2011 to 19% in 2016, according to the latest data from Euromonitor International.
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BEIJING – China's biggest online retailer, JD.com Inc., announced plans Monday to develop drone aircraft capable of carrying a ton or more for long-distance deliveries. The company said it will test the drones on a network it is developing to cover the northern Chinese province of Shaanxi. It said they will carry consumer goods to remote areas and farm produce to cities. JD.com, headquartered in Beijing, says it made its first deliveries to customers using smaller drones in November. Other e-commerce brands including Amazon.com Inc. also are experimenting with drones for delivery. "We envision a network that will be able to efficiently transport goods between cities, and even between provinces, in the future," the chief executive of JD's logistics business group, Wang Zhenhui, said in a statement.
Amazon is launching a new self-driving delivery device called Scout, and it's adorable. Scout is the size of a "small cooler" and can roll along sidewalks, delivering packages safely to a customer's doorstep. The device is currently operating in Snohomish County, Washington, the company announced Wednesday. "The devices will autonomously follow their delivery route but will initially be accompanied by an Amazon employee," Amazon said in a statement. "We developed Amazon Scout at our research and development lab in Seattle, ensuring the devices can safely and efficiently navigate around pets, pedestrians and anything else in their path."