In 2013 Amazon promised to use drones to deliver purchases to its users in just 30 minutes. However, nearly a decade later, the company is still far from having actually implemented the program announced with great fanfare by Jeff Bezos. A recent report from Bloomberg indicates that the company would have encountered multiple difficulties in achieving the objectives Premium Air be successful; this is believed to be due not only to technical issues and incidents during flight testing, but also to the negative impact that the lack of progress and safety issues would have had on the employees involved.
According to the aforementioned media, so far Amazon has allocated more than $2 trillion to its drone program. But even such a sum of money, added to a team of more than a thousand members, would not be enough to bring the company closer to the realization of its almost immediate delivery plan.
Since the initial announcement, Amazon has not only changed the design of its drones, but also the one in charge of driving their development. Guru Kimchi was in charge of this initiative in its early years, when David Carbone He took the job in March 2020 after a long run as a Boeing manager. However, the latter’s work was reportedly scrutinized by the company’s own employees for allegedly prioritize development speed over security.
Clearly, Amazon isn’t the only company leveraging drones to innovate product delivery. Other big technology firms have also been developing similar proposals for several years, and some—Samsung, for example—have already launched them, but in a very limited way. It is a reality that the definitive implementation of this type of strategy is not only linked to technical progress and the reliability of unmanned vehicles, or to the investment made by each company, but also to the approval of the aeronautical authorities of each country. And the latter is the most difficult, without a doubt.
Nearly a decade after it was announced, Amazon’s drones aren’t taking off
Bloomberg mentions how technical issues would have been a major headache for Amazon’s drone program in 2021. He specifically mentions that five accidents were recorded in the same test site, in just four months. Of that amount, two would have been the most worrisome.
One, apparently occurring in May, allegedly occurred when a propeller on the drone broke off, causing the aircraft to fall to the ground. The most striking thing here is that Amazon supposedly cleaned up the scene before the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) arrived on the scene, although the company denied acting with malicious intent, but rather following the instructions of the competent authorities.
The other reportedly happened in June after an unmanned plane’s engine shut down. According to what has been published, the systems that were supposed to counteract the annoyances did not work and this caused the aircraft to fall. After the impact, the drone would have caught fire and the fire would have spread for an area of just over 10 hectares.
The problems would not only be technical
Amazon’s struggling drone program is also said to have taken a toll on those involved. The increase in the number of accidents during testing would have given a boost to the departure of several employees they were part of a team.
Bloomberg ensures that many workers involved in Prime Air have chosen to be transferred to other branches of the company; mainly on Amazon Web Services. Others would have preferred to abandon it. There would also have been a higher layoff rate under David Carbon’s leadership, topping 200 in 2021 alone.
A former employee named cheddi skeete He says he was fired after raising safety concerns within Amazon’s drone team. They would not only have been linked to breakdowns during the flights and to suspicions about the effective compliance with the maintenance of the aircraft; would also have revealed inappropriate working conditionssuch as the lack of toilets in the places where the tests were carried out.
For the moment, Amazon came out at the crossroads of several statements released by Bloomberg. The company has assured that safety is its main priority and that all work is carried out in accordance with regulatory frameworks. “We take safety reports seriously; we have a system in place that is well known to all members of our team, and we encourage them to raise their suggestions and concerns about it,” read a statement. sent to The edgemedium who also echoed this story.