It's hard to believe it's been almost three years since Amazon announced its plan to deliver packages via drone. The first air delivery occurred last December in the UK and the retailer continues to refine the concept with futuristic ideas to perch the flying couriers on streetlights and deploy them from flying warehouses. In a new patent discovered by GeekWire, Amazon's next step is an "Aerial Package Delivery System," a delivery label that includes one of those parachutes that could make shipping via an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that much easier. The patent documents describe a simple workflow for delivery via drone parachute. The images show the steps, which include "Pack item, attach parachute shipping label," "Attach to UAV" and then "Drop at delivery location."
Postal workers in France are about to get a day off. The country announced a test program that will use unmanned aircraft to deliver packages once per week, according to a report from Ars Technica. The General Directorate for Civil Aviation, France's airspace regulator, has given drones the go-ahead to take over delivery duty on a limited basis. The crafts will take flight in the southern region of Provence, where they will travel a limited, nine-mile route once per week. Heading the trial will be DPDgroup, an international subsidiary of the French national postal service.
The date for this year's Amazon Prime Day may have just leaked, and if it's anything like last year, the deals will be better than Black Friday deals. Amazon is looking for entrepreneurs to help build out its delivery service with tens of thousands of new drivers across the U.S. The expansion of its Delivery Service Partners program, which would let small business owners build their own company with up to 40 delivery vehicles, is the latest piece of the online retailing giant's plan to disrupt the logistics ecosystem. Potentially, hundreds of new small business entrepreneurs could help the company expand its delivery system enough to end reliance on traditional last-mile shippers such as UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service. As part of the plan, announced Thursday, the new small delivery businesses can get training from Amazon and make use of its logistics technology. Businesses will also be able to get discounts on vehicles, uniforms, fuel and insurance.
Estimating the perfect times for drivers to pick up food delivery orders for a number of different restaurants can be one of the most difficult of computational problems. Think of it like the Traveling Salesperson NP-Hard combinatorial optimization problem: The customer wants food delivered in a timely manner, and the delivery person wants to food ready when they roll-up. If the estimates are off by even a tiny bit, then customers are unhappy and delivery people will work elsewhere. Yet, car-sharing service Uber is building a global service, called Uber Eats, that will rely on accurate predictions to succeed. The secret to its success will be machine learning, built from the company's in-house ML platform, nicknamed Michelangelo.
You can use your smartphone to get pretty much anything delivered directly to your door almost instantaneously, from food and groceries to daily essentials and electronics. The hardest part is of the process is scrambling to figure out if you should tip and if so, doing the quick math before you get to the door. It's pretty much common knowledge that you tip should tip about 20% at restaurants, but do the same rules apply to delivery drivers? Most food delivery apps have both delivery and service fees, which can get expensive and confusing. Customers might think that a delivery fee would include tip.