Amazon, UPS Drone Delivery Coming Within Months

Federal authorities promise unmanned aircraft proponents: ‘We’ll help you get there’

It's going to happen much faster than most thought: Coming Soon to a Front Porch Near You: Package Delivery Via Drone.

After lagging behind other countries for years, commercial drones in the U.S. are expected to begin limited package deliveries within months, according to federal regulators and industry officials.

The momentum partly stems from stepped-up White House pressure, prompting closer cooperation between the government and companies such as Amazon.com Inc . seeking authorizations for such fledgling businesses. The upshot, according to these officials, is newfound confidence by both sides that domestic package-delivery services finally appear on the verge of taking off.

At least 10 FAA-approved pilot programs for various drone initiatives—some likely including package delivery—are slated to start by May. Separately, industry and government officials have indicated that Amazon, widely considered one the most aggressive and furthest advanced applicants, is pushing for safety approval of detailed drone designs, as well as precise operating rules.

Amazon officials declined to provide details. But Gur Kimchi, vice president of the company’s package-delivery organization called Prime Air, expressed confidence that necessary approvals would be secured before the end of the year.

Earl Lawrence, who runs the FAA’s drone-integration office, had a similar upbeat message. Airborne deliveries may be “a lot closer than many of the skeptics think,” he told last week’s gathering. Some experimental efforts already are under way and “they’re getting ready for full-blown operations,” he said in an interview. “We’re processing their applications,” and “I would like to move as quickly as I can.”

During last week’s conference, FAA officials urged startups and established industry players alike to submit a variety of proposals, repeatedly using the catchphrase “the FAA is open for business.”

Amazon, for instance, has said its long-term goal is to pick up packages weighing a maximum of 5 pounds from distribution centers and whisk them to customers within a 20-mile radius. Navigating safely over populated areas and landing in pinpoint locations remain two of the most difficult challenges.

Along with General Electric Co., Google and a handful of other aerospace and Silicon Valley companies, Amazon has sketched out principles for a separate, low-altitude traffic-control network intended to be funded and run by a fast-growing industry encompassing more than 10,000 drone-related companies and 70,000 registered commercial aerial vehicles.

Going to Happen

Local regulators will moan about noise, safety, visual pollution near parks, and numerous other things. But it's going to happen.

“We face tremendous congestion on the roads, but we have virtually unlimited capacity above us,” said Brian Wynne, president of the industry’s largest trade association. “Why wouldn’t we use that?”

Indeed.

Congratulations to Trump for moving ahead with this. Deliveries will be faster and cheaper than before.

Think Pizza!

Pizza Delivery Salaries

Image from GlassDoor.

Domino's Ford Team Up

Here's the question: How many pizza delivery guys and gals just lost their jobs?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (28)
No. 1-28
SweetKenny
SweetKenny

Pizza just got cheaper - no tipping. Deflation, indeed.

Realist
Realist

I’m not sure why Mish always mentions the losss of jobs without mentioning the creation of higher skilled jobs in drone production, programming, management and repair. The US should embrace this technology and become a world leader in it.

whirlaway
whirlaway

This means the credit bubble will have to expand further. There is no other way this will work....

AWC
AWC

Tech is what America does well. Let dirty fossil fuel burning industry be done by foreigners. Oh, wait,,,where are these drones made? Uh, oh.

thimk
thimk

Maybe a Trump initiative that got the drone delivery model closer to implementation: For me , i'll just pick up the pizza at the vendor site and pay for cash. https://www.wired.com/story/faa-trump-drones-regulations/

Realist
Realist

Tech is indeed what America does well. Just take a look at market caps for some of your well known companies. Tech dwarfs the others.
Market Cap in billions
Google 783
Amazon 751
Apple 898
Facebook 530
Oracle 216
IBM 145
US Steel 7.5
Tesla 55
GM 54
Ford 42

AWC
AWC

Worked many years around Silicon Valley. That's talent central. Look at real estate prices in any city. They are indicative of the concentration of smart people.

AWC
AWC

That said, Silicon Valley also has some of the worst traffic in the country. This drone thing makes sense, after they work whatever bugs that spring up out. Anytime a menial task is eliminated by efficiency, the performer of that task is freed up to move to something better.

AWC
AWC

Great nations are made from innovation, not reviving archaic 20Th century industry.

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

Realist - How many drone creation jobs will be created vs how many Pizza jobs that go away? That said, I agree with the overall tone of your statement! The problem, as I have stated, is Fed insistence on inflation in a deflationary world.

AWC
AWC

@mish "How many drone creation jobs will be created vs how many Pizza jobs that go away?" vs. how many millions will benefit from more efficient delivery processes, thereby saving capital to be used for other purposes.

AWC
AWC

Almost forgot, Jay Powell knows more about delivering pizza than the pizza parlor and the guy who orders it. As for those Pizza jobs, Joe Schumpeter had a theory 'bout that.

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

We all benefit! Everyone benefits from technology. If you are expecting an argument from me on that score you are mistaken. This is all very price-deflationary. Price-Deflation is good. Standards of living rise when there are more goods at cheaper prices. The problem, once again, is the Fed insists on 2% inflation in a price-deflationary world.

AWC
AWC

All true, but I might add, the productive sector in this country is shrugging, because it can no longer carry the weight of parasitic obtrusive government, the non productive segment of the population, and do it all with a currency that not only is not backed by value, but is in fact a debt instrument. ie; a liability.

Rayner-Hilles
Rayner-Hilles

Mish, I think you displace blame onto the Fed that rightly belongs to human nature. The tragic fact of the matter is people want inflation at 2%. People want it because they want - indeed they NEED - their wages to rise every year. And they want and need their savings to grow in perpetuum. The Fed exists to give what people want to see: numbers that are constantly going up. Simulated progress to stabilize people's confidence. The economy can't work without stable demand.

Maybe if history was different, we might of emerged out of a "deflationary culture" such that people didn't need to see numbers always rise. To that degree the Fed is a victim of history, charged with keeping an unsustainable system going by any means.

Stuki
Stuki

Delivering a 5 lb pizza by way of a 30lb drone, does seem just a wee bit more rational and efficient, than doing so by way of a 200lb meatsack and a 4000lb hunk of rolling, tariffed, steel……..

vboring
vboring

Consumer goods are fun, drones for business are already real and will be much more so once the "beyond visual line of sight" rules are relaxed. Infrastructure inspection, intrusion detection, and environmental evaluation for permitting are all already good businesses because they keep people out of expensive helicopters.

whirlaway
whirlaway

"Standards of living rise when there are more goods at cheaper prices."

Not when people are so devoid of income that they have to borrow money to buy even the cheapest crap.

Guinny_Ire
Guinny_Ire

I think the upshot is the creation of higher paying jobs in the form of actuaries and class action lawsuit lawyers. And Billboard owner and service companies. How long til we see some poor schmuck (hopefully not me), brain damaged, dragged out on tv because a 30 pd drone crashed into his head (failure, drones crashing, pigeons, etc)? I'm not a Luddite. But the proliferation I envision of drones will come with it's problems. Also not a fan of the driver less car as Mish is but that's a-whole-nother conversation. Wasn't sure what the correct grammar was on whole nother. Colloquialism?

Realist
Realist

Mish, I think you, me, Stuki, and AWC are in agreement (as I’m not a fan of violence!). We are all just quibbling over the net benefits of technology.

KidHorn
KidHorn

The UPS delivery truck delivers roughly 20 packages a day in my neighborhood. Many are too big and/or heavy to be delivered by drone. The economics of drone delivery don't make sense in my neighborhood since we would need a delivery guy in our neighborhood regardless. Maybe it works better with people who live in isolation.

Grumblenose
Grumblenose

Pizzas flying through the air? I'm thinking skeet shooting...

Grumblenose
Grumblenose

Pizza delivered to the middle of your front lawn in the rain? Or up on the rainy, windswept roof of your apartment block?

Sidelines
Sidelines

I think this is all pie in the sky dreaming. ;)

Advancingtime
Advancingtime

A drone just crashed into my roof. Who is going to clean up the mess and pay for the damage? Oh, that's right you don't have permission to come on my property.

100 Hillbillies
100 Hillbillies

Those who lose their jobs are coming to your house for dinner. And breakfast.

klausmkl
klausmkl

Sureee misch, go back to toking some green. In 1970 my teacher told me the entire USA would be using the metric system in a few short years, ill, wait.