December 11, 2014
Amazon’s latest experiment with its delivery service promises one-hour deliveries. The Amazon Prime Now service is being tested across New York City using a fleet of bike messengers. The program has plans to implement drop-off drones in the future. Amazon’s drone carriers, which could cut the one-hour delivery time in half, has yet to receive approval from the FAA for domestic use. Amazon joins companies such as Postmates, WunWun and Uber in the market for expedited delivery services.
“Amazon has been holding time trials with messengers from at least three courier services to pick the speediest and most careful for the bicycle-based service,” reports The Wall Street Journal. Working out of the company’s new Manhattan facility, messengers will come in and out fulfilling the expedited deliveries all throughout the city.
Amazon already offers same-day delivery in many domestic cities, “where shoppers who pay $5.99 for delivery and order by noon can receive their items by 9 p.m. the same day,” notes WSJ. Non-Amazon Prime members can request the same service at cost of $8.99.
Amazon’s use of drones in the U.S. remains under review by the FAA. The company has applied for an exception to the FAA’s policy that forbids the use of commercial drones. Amazon may consider alternative options on an international level. Europe has thousands of apporved commercial drone operators, while the U.S. currently has less than 10.
Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president of global public policy, addressed a letter to the FAA saying that, “without the ability to test outdoors in the United States soon, we will have no choice but to divert even more of our [drone] research and development resources abroad.”