Amazon falls in 2nd place to Alibaba in drone race

Achim Runnebaum - Feb 4, 2015, 3:17am CST
Amazon falls in 2nd place to Alibaba in drone race

Amazon’s Drone delivery program will catapult the world fully into the 21st century! I remember that day quite clearly. Waking up, turning on the computer for the latest tech news, and seeing THE Amazon headline. You know the one I mean: Amazon announces delivery by drones. The future had finally come at last. We still didn’t have the flying cars we were promised as children, but this drone thing was very cool indeed. Seems like China has beat Amazon to the Punch.

Amazon’s idea of having goods delivered by drone seemed so outlandishly ambitious and far-fetched at first. I mean, how do they get clearance from the FAA? How do they get around the battery life issue? You Wouldn’t want the drone carrying your ordered items to land in the wrong neighbourhood, right? Or crash down with your freshly ordered China Tea Set on the pavement in front of you.
The drone delivery is certainly a great idea on paper, but the reality usually looks a lot different. Amazon is facing an uphill battle to work out all the kinks before their master plan can come into full fruition.

Well, it looks like they might either get some help from, or get beaten to the finish line, by their Chinese counterparts, Alibaba. There are reports that Alibaba, China’s answer to Amazon, is currently already testing delivery of certain items via drones to a select group of customers. Limited to only a special brand of Ginger Tea at the moment, but hopefully very soon adding brown sugar and menstrual cramp relief medication, the program is currently undergoing a trial run in three cities: Guangzhou, Beijing, and Shanghai.

What Amazon’s response to this will be remains to be seen, but for now they have slipped to 2nd place in the drone race. I’m sure Mr. Bezo (Amazon’s CEO) has already called an emergency meeting and is currently cracking the whip to get their drones up and flying as soon as possible.

The future is starting to look very exciting indeed. Not sure if I would trust a drone carrying my order of the latest tech gadgets at the moment, but herbal ginger tea is certainly not a bad start.

VIA: Tech in Asia

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