Walmart And Amazon Drones Battle For Last-Mile Delivery Supremacy
Walmart and Amazon are engaged in a war of delivery drones. Although Amazon may be the largest e-commerce retailer, Walmart may have a structural edge enabling them to deliver groceries and household items by drone more quickly. Both players introduced short-range drones to transport small packages up to 5 pounds. According to Amazon, about 90% of products they sell weigh under 5 pounds.
Walmart claims they have a store within 10 miles of 90% of Americans. Amazon, by contrast, delivers from its fulfillment centers, usually located near major cities. That gives Walmart an edge until Amazon ramps up their rural presence.
Meanwhile, Amazon has patented a futuristic Jetson-style idea for distribution towers that look like beehives. The towers would function as fulfillment centers with landing pads for delivery drones, strategically located near high-density residential towers.
The current need for social distancing has accelerated a paradigm shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping with contact-free delivery.
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(Photo credit: Amazon, via FreightWaves, and Walmart, via FreightWaves)
Airlines Retrofit Passenger Aircraft To Handle Cargo
Cathay Pacific supplements their cargo capacity and cuts some of their losses related to the pandemic by removing economy seats from Boeing 777 planes to transport more medical supplies, PPE and other critical shipments. They are required to keep the front and rear seat rows in place to protect the aircraft from cargo that could shift due to turbulence. Cargo is placed in fire-retardant bags because passenger cabins aren’t equipped with fire-suppression systems. The airline follows in the footsteps of Air Canada and Lufthansa who have reconfigured some passenger planes for cargo.
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(Image Credit: Cathay Pacific)
Drone Delivery System Aims to Make Mid-Size Retail Chains Competitive With E-Commerce Giants
Deuce Drone announced a test of their last mile delivery system which is intended to make delivery directly from stores to consumers faster and more affordable. Rouses Market, which operates 64 grocery stores in the south, has partnered with Deuce Drone to test a same day delivery system by drones in order to make last mile delivery faster and less costly than vans, so they can compete with Amazon.
(Image courtesy of: Commercial Drone Professional of Deuce Drone)
New Drone System Developed For Long Distance Delivery
Civil drone operators are currently restricted to line-of-sight operation of one drone at a time to avoid collisions. Satellite operator, Inmarsat Group Holdings, has partnered with Altitude Angel LTD to operate drones over long distances safely by integrating a backup satellite connection for areas with no land-based communications . If they can prove safe operation to regulators, fleets of remotely operated drones could be deployed to transport tons of goods. Read more about this development at:
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(Photo Credit: Chip Chipman/Bloomberg News)
NASA And Virgin Galactic Join Forces To Advance Supersonic Travel
NASA has signed a space act agreement with Virgin Galactic and its subsidiary, The Spaceship Company, to develop high-Mach aircraft for potential use in the commercial aviation industry. The team will apply their combined know-how and advances in sub-orbital and space travel to explore new solutions for supersonic flight. The potential for a paradigm shift in high speed passenger and cargo transport is enormous.
(Photo: Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity performs its first glide flight over Spaceport America in New Mexico on May 1, 2020. Image: © Virgin Galactic)
Air Force Comes Up With Ingenious RFQ To Expedite Development Of Flying Cars
To promote the development of EVTOL cars, the Air Force will issue an RFQ for a program named Agility Prime, soliciting proposals from commercial developers to design a flying car for troops and cargo. The benefit to commercial developers is that military airspace will be made available to the winning bidders to test their aircraft. Access to military ranges will reduce the time required for certification by the FAA by creating a faster track to proof of airworthiness. Developing the technology for both military and commercial applications at inception would prevent the loss of an entire supply chain to early commercial investors, as was the case with the drone market, now controlled by Chinese investors. Uber and Nasa are working on similar concept vehicles for commercial applications.
Above: Uber’s Flying car concept via breakingdefense.com
In header: Aeromobil VTOL concept via breakingdefense.com)
Boom Supersonic Will Test the XB-1 Supersonic Aircraft in a Military Zone in the Mojave Desert
Boom’s XB-1 is an experimental aircraft used in the development of Overture, a supersonic commercial aircraft with speeds exceeding Mach 2. The aircraft will be tested in protected military airspace, creating a supersonic corridor. This new breed of supersonic aircraft is expected to revolutionize the commercial aviation and cargo industry.
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(Photo credits: Flying Magazine & Boom Supersonic)