Tag Archives: delivery

Amazon teases Prime Air delivery and ‘a whole family’ of drones in new ad with Jeremy Clarkson

New prototype is ‘part helicopter and part airplane’

Amazon is back with its latest vision for its Prime Air drone delivery system — and this time the company has brought its high-profile celebrity, TV show host and gearhead Jeremy Clarkson, along for the ride. In a slick new ad and FAQ page published today, the company demonstrates what Prime Air could look like if and when regulators approve deliveries by unmanned aerial vehicles.

The ad shows a new prototype model of the Prime Air drone — this one looks larger and quite a bit more custom-tailored to deliveries than the model first shown a couple of years ago. It features two propeller systems: one for vertical takeoff and another for horizontal travel to the destination. In an email, an Amazon spokesperson calls it “part helicopter and part airplane,” adding that the design lets it “fly long distances efficiently and go straight up and down in a safe, agile way.”


This isn’t the only drone Amazon is working on. The spokesperson notes that “It is one of many prototype vehicles we have developed” and Clarkson adds in the commercial that “In time, there’ll be a whole family of Amazon drones; different designs for different environments.” In this demo, it appears customers will set up a little landing zone in their backyard that the drone can sense and land on to deliver the package.

amazon prime air drone

The other details of this delivery system remain the same however: Amazon is pushing the FAA to allow it to use airspace below 400 feet to deliver packages weighing less than five pounds to houses 10–15 miles from warehouses. Clarkson is also sure to note the drone’s safety features, which include Amazon’s proposed “sense and avoid” technology. Since there are too many drones for air traffic controllers to handle, such a system would allow drones to theorhetically avoid obstacles and other aircraft on their own.

The whole process from order to delivery is supposed to take less than 30 minutes, but it faces many, many regulatory hurdles before it can become a reality in the US. The company itself notes that “putting Prime Air into service will take some time, but we will deploy when we have the regulatory support needed to realize our vision.” A spokesperson also adds, “One day, seeing Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road.” It’s likely this highly-produced ad is meant to turn up public pressure on the FAA so Amazon can bring its dream drone delivery system to life.

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Food delivery app Deliveroo raises $100m to expand beyond Europe

The premium food delivery app has closed its third funding round this year, bringing its total raised in 2015 to $195m

Deliveroo has raised $100m (£66m) from a group of venture capital funds including Facebook investors Accel and DST Global to fuel the London-based food delivery start-up’s international expansion.

The funding round is Deliveroo’s third this year, bringing its total capital raised in the past 12 months to $195m.

Will Shu, chief executive, said the investment would fuel the company’s expansion to Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney.

“This is our first foray outside Europe. We’re now very much a global company and that’s significant,” said Mr Shu, a former investment banker who founded the company alongside software developer Greg Orlowski in 2013.

The Series D funding round was led by Yuri Milner’s investment firm DST Global – which has backed Twitter, Spotify and Airbnb – and San Francisco-based Greenoaks Capital.

Deliveroo also raised funds from existing investors Accel, Hummingbird Ventures and Index Ventures, whose portfolios include Facebook, Asos and King Entertainment.

In addition to its international expansion, the Soho-based businesses will ramp up its marketing and hiring activities to increase its presence in its current markets amid strong competition from other food delivery technology companies such as Just Eat and Hungry House.

Deliveroo differs from its rivals because it connects users with high quality restaurants, from Michelin-starred establishments and independent eateries such as Trishna and Dishoom to upmarket chains including Wagamama, Dirty Burger and Busaba Eathai.

“There’s been a big boom in premium casual dining across the world over the last 10 to 15 years,” Mr Shu said. “In 2001, Paris was either Michelin-starred restaurants or kebab shops, and London wasn’t that far off.

“Now there’s the Parisian take on the burger, Hong Kong’s take on the taco and the Berlin take on dim sum. There’s been a strong movement towards better food in a more casual setting. We’re creating a mainstream product.”

Deliveroo’s daily orders have increased 10-fold since January, when the company took its first step beyond London and opened in Brighton. It has since expanded outside of the UK, launching first in Dublin in April and then branching out into another 19 European cities.

Online transactions now account for 40pc of all food delivery orders in the UK, up from 8pc in 2008, according to the market research firm NPD Group.

Just Eat, the online food ordering service that launched in 2001, raised £1.47bn when it listed on the London Stock Exchange last year in the UK’s largest technology flotation in eight years.

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Amazon begins a delivery service powered by regular folks

The e-commerce giant jumps into the gig economy with the new program called Amazon Flex. The service starts in Seattle.

Amazon’s newest offering to the public: delivery jobs.

The online retailer on Tuesday rolled out a new program calledAmazon Flex, which lets regular people sign up to become on-demand delivery drivers. The project is starting in Seattle, Amazon’s hometown, but a company webpage said Amazon Flex will be coming soon to Manhattan, Baltimore, Miami, Dallas, Austin, Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta and Portland.

Amazon Flex will support Prime Now, the company’s new and quickly growing service that offers no-cost rapid deliveries of food staples, electronics and toiletries in about a dozen US cities and in London in the UK. The webpage, though, mentions that Flex drivers may deliver “other types of Amazon packages” in the future, leaving the door open for Flex helping power Amazon’s regular deliveries alongside the US Postal Service, FedEx and UPS.

The service makes Amazon a new participant in the gig economy, in which companies outsource jobs to on-demand workers, such as Uber and Lyft hiring private drivers or Postmates giving short-term jobs to couriers. Such business models have been criticized for not offering workers enough benefits, such as health insurance and paid sick days, and lawsuits have been filed against Uber and other firms on those grounds. Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton in July blasted Uber and similar companies, saying they exploit those workers. Amid that blowback, grocery delivery company Instacart and valet service Luxe have moved to convert their contractors into employees.

However, Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that his company feels “very confident” in its approach for Amazon Flex.

For now, Amazon said it’s only bringing on drivers as Flex workers. It said workers can make $18 to $25 an hour delivering Prime Now packages. As with other gig economy jobs, these workers can schedule their own hours. Depending on the market, Prime Now currently uses networks of drivers, bike couriers or sometimes walkers to fulfill Prime Now orders.

Amazon Flex is one more program the company is working on to speed up deliveries so it can become an even bigger attraction for its Prime members, who pay $99 a year for no-cost, two-day shipping and other services. In an effort to coax more people to buy impulse items, food and whatever else they want without a trip to the store, Amazon has been expanding Prime Now, developing delivery drones and even delivering packages to customers’ car trunks in Germany.

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California may ban drones from trespassing over private property

The California State Assembly yesterday passed legislation that would make drone operators guilty of trespassing if they fly their UAVs over private property.

The bill (SB-142) still faces a vote in the senate, but if signed, will make flying a drone below 350 feet over private property without the consent of the property owner illegal. Currently the FAA allows small aircraft to be flown for recreational purposes without a permit, below 400 feet and at least five miles from an airport. This means that, if this bill is signed, drone hobbyists in California will only be able to fly their drones within a small band of airspace — between 350 feet and 400 feet.


According to the Los Angeles Times, some lawmakers expressed concern that the new bill would stifle growth and innovation in the burgeoning drone industry. But Mike Gatto, one of the bill’s supporters, argues that businesses won’t be harmed because trespassing penalties would only be applied to drone operators, not manufacturers.

States and agencies across the country have been struggling to figure out how to regulate drones, but it’s unclear how successfully this bill will be able to protect privacy. It’s not clear how a 350 feet rule would eliminate spying completely, but it will prevent operators from being able to fly their drones directly outside people’s homes.

Bill SB–142 passed the Assembly on a 43–11 vote, and will go to the Senate for final approval. Bill AB–856, which makes it a crime for paparazzi to use drones to take pictures or video over private property, was also passed, by a vote of 40–0.

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Uber brings food delivery to its hometown, San Francisco

The ride-hailing service expands its UberEats feature to the City by the Bay, offering up on-demand gourmet fare.

Uber has waded into competitive territory in San Francisco: on-demand food delivery. On Tuesday, the ride-hailing service launched in the city its UberEats service, which aims to deliver food from some of San Francisco’s most trendy restaurants in minutes.

“We are excited to bring San Franciscans the flavors and dishes that define the local food scene — in 10 minutes or less,” said UberEats San Francisco General Manager Susan Alban. “With UberEats, people can experience a variety of flavors from a menu that updates daily, and discover the best local restaurants without waiting in line.”

San Francisco-based Uber is best known for competing with taxi and limo services by offering on-demand rides to passengers via a mobile app. But it’s increasingly treading into the delivery sector. UberEats is already in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Barcelona and Toronto. Launching in San Francisco puts Uber in a market that’s already flush with other popular on-demand food delivery services, like Munchery, Spoonrocket and Grubhub.

Last November, Uber hired away Tom Fallows, the head of Google’s same-day delivery service Google Express, leading to speculation that the ride-hailing service was getting more involved in deliveries. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has made his delivery goals clear in the past, saying he’s servicing a society that values instant gratification, and that means near-instant delivery.

“Today, we are in the business of delivering cars in five minutes,” he said at the LeWeb conference in 2013. “Once you’re in the business of delivering cars in five minutes, there are a lot of things you can deliver in five minutes.”

Through UberEats, people who use the Uber app can request a meal just as they would a ride. Uber changes the menus daily — making particular items available from each of the day’s participating restaurants. The option to use UberEats appears on the app only when users are in areas covered by the service.

For its launch UberEats is featuring food from a handful of local restaurants, including The Ramen Bar, which has items like chicken udon noodles; Ike’s Place, which is known for its massive sub sandwiches; and Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, famous for its croissant muffin hybrids, aka cruffins. Items range from roughly $9 to $15.

For now UberEats San Francisco will be available only in certain parts of the city, such as the Financial District and South of Market neighborhoods. But the company said it plans to expand the service to the entire city in coming months.

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