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Amazon Maps the Skies for Drone Deliveries

While researchers, shipping carriers and postal services may be thinking about drones, it seems ecommerce company Amazon may do more to make commercial and non-commercial drone flight in the U.S. a reality.

Amazon Prime Air Vice President Gur Kimchi spoke at a conference at the NASA Ames Research Center on Tuesday advocating for standards and laying out a vision for an air traffic management system for drones, according to the Washington Post.

“Amazon suggests divvying up airspace access based on a drone’s mission and capabilities. Drones would connect to an online network that manages their flights in real time to prevent any trouble. Amazon believes this approach will ensure safe and efficient drone flights,” wrote the Post’s Matt McFarland.

Amazon is laser-focused on the best, most efficient way to get items to customers, and it’s eager to make drones part of the solution. The company sees the skies as part of its delivery infrastructure and is mapping the lanes, roads and highways above.

It’s also possible that Amazon Prime Air will become its fourth “great” business the company is looking to add to its Marketplace, Prime, and AWS businesses that founder and CEO Jeff Bezos referenced in June. Amazon Prime Air could conceivably become the UPS or FedEx of the skies, taking its expertise and offering it to others for a fee as it does with AWS.

Bezos shared with shareholders the four characteristics of what he thinks are great businesses at the company’s annual meeting in June, according to the Seattle Times:

  • customers have to love the offering;
  • the business has to have the potential to be large;
  • it has to offer strong returns on capital;
  • and it needs to be durable.

We’ve also talked about Amazon’s logistics business as being a potential number four, and possibly its entire shipping logistics business – land and sky – could be it.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.