Amazon and UPS are investigating package delivery via automated flying drones, but a New York Times profile of Google’s recent interest in robotics lays out an interesting hypothetical situation: imagine a self-driving car pulling up in your driveway, and a robot getting out to deliver your package instead of a living, breathing UPS human bedecked in brown.
United Parcel Service Inc.UPS is on track for a record breaking year after a huge boost in traffic over the weekend thanks to online shopping, even as sales were down at traditional retailers.
“Cyber sales were up significantly, and cyber sales are what drive packages,” said Alan Gershenhorn, chief sales, marketing and strategy officer, in an interview with the WSJ on Monday, adding that the Black Friday weekend has officially turned into “Cyber Weekend.”
The company’s delivery army picked up about 32 million packages on Cyber Monday – about 10% more than ever before – and is on track to deliver more than 129 million packages this week, he added.
Flying parcel-carriers are the next logical frontier for delivery companies
Sources familiar with the company’s plans say it has been testing and evaluating different approaches to drone delivery. Asked for a comment, a company spokesman said that, “The commercial use of drones is an interesting technology and we’ll continue to evaluate it.
In some ways, say industry experts, this is no surprise. “I would be shocked if a company like UPS wasn’t considering this,” says Ryan Calo, a law professor specializing in drones and robotics. “If you want to compete in logistics and delivery, drones and unmanned robots have to be part of the conversation about where things are headed.”
I think the large retailers we talked to are cautious this year. they do expect to see increased sales. We don’t think it’s going to be a huge increase over last year.I think it’s going to be a little more of a cliff hanger, though, because of this tighter shopping season. All of us, u.p.s. and all the retailers will waiting to see as customers realize they don’t have as many days left to finish their shipping. Myself included as a bad procrastinator. We’ll see a big rush, actually, the week before christmas and our largest day will be December 16th when we pick up over 34 million packages.