Ars Technica has a story about how Walgreen is working with Google's Wing division to offer drone delivery service in the Dallas suburbs, even as Walmart has been offering its own drone delivery service since November from two (soon to be three) Bentonville, Arkansas, area stores.
"The Wing and Walmart services are still pretty limited," the story says, "with each service initially designed to perform around 100 deliveries per day. But drone delivery is finally moving beyond the research-and-development phase. Wing and Walmart are using drones to deliver real merchandise to real customers. The question is how quickly they can scale up—and how many other companies can follow their lead."
Compare this to the fact that Amazon "has yet to launch a commercial drone delivery service in the United States—despite a December 2013 segment on 60 Minutes where Jeff Bezos predicted drone deliveries might reach the market in four to five years." In fact, Amazon has been getting negative publicity for drone accidents that have thrown its lack of progress into sharp relief.
Plus, as we pointed out here on MNB a few weeks ago, "Amazon has done internal projections that suggest it will cost $65 to make individual drone deliveries via its Prime Air service, which it plans to roll out later this year … That's $65 for each of the one million packages that Amazon believes it will be delivering via drone in 2025 … That's $65, as opposed to less than $5.50 that it currently costs to make deliveries on the ground."
To this point, the story notes, regulations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have created some limits on how far the drone business can grow, though there are expectations that evolving rules and improved technology are likely to combine for an environment in which growth can accelerate.
- KC's View:
I keep thinking about the Axios story pointing out that Logan, Australia, has become the drone delivery capital of the world, with Wing making more than 50,000 deliveries in the past eight months, "including a record 4,500 in the first week of August. That includes more than 10,000 cups of coffee, 2,700 sushi rolls, 1,000 loaves of bread and 1,200 hot chooks (Australian slang for rotisserie chickens).
"Wing started in two Logan neighborhoods and now serves 19 suburbs with a combined population of more than 110,000 people."
You should check out the Wing/Logan site here.