How Amazon Is Bringing IoT to Land, Sea, and Air
See how Amazon is investing and developing heavily in self-driving cars, drones, and remote control technology to connect their delivery chain.
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You’ve probably already heard of Amazon’s new drones that promise to deliver from the air – within 30 minutes, no less. But Amazon hasn’t been so vocal with its new patent filings to build a flying warehouse, aptly named, “Airborne Fulfillment Centers.”
And if this idea sounds too fictional for you, Amazon recently found room in their small budget to build a $1.5 billion air cargo hub in the Midwest. I don’t know about you, but these are tell-tale signs that Amazon plans to conquer the air in more ways than just their drone program. Amazon is breaking into a new frontier of IoT. They will be one of the most prominent companies to collect data on the effectiveness of delivery services through land, sea, and air.
These “AFCs” would be stocked with certain inventory and positioned in locations where those items could increase in demand. Or if we use Amazon’s example from the filings:
“A temporal event (e.g., a football game) may be expected to produce a demand for certain types of items (e.g., sporting paraphernalia, food products, etc.). In advance of the event, the items may be delivered to the AFC in a quantity sufficient to satisfy the expected demand.”
This figure shows how airborne fulfillment centers could be stocked, positioned and delivered:
Amazon can easily deliver these products with their Air drones. Imagine the amount of data that they will be able to collect from air deliveries as well. Whether that item is delivered to a sporting event or somebody’s front door. Amazon will be able to track which items are most demanded by consumers and synthesize that data for more efficient and predictive deliveries.
Amazon isn’t finished here either. Amazon has patented a highway network that would allow them to communicate with their own self-driving trucks. They bought thousands of delivery trucks, showing their ambition to get self-driving trucks on the road as fast as possible. Here is a diagram that represents how they are going to run these highway networks:
This diagram shows how Amazon would need someone to help navigate these trucks to their destinations. The management system could update truck routes and decide when it’s safe for them to access a certain part of the road. Basically, they are replacing truck drivers with fleet managers who control the autonomous vehicles from management centers.
Of course, autonomous trucks will have to be embedded with IoT devices to transmit information to the highway management network. Think of the new markets this will open. Giant companies like Amazon are going to become the face for IoT trucking, and by creating their own highway network, they are basically saying they want control of all the data that could be collected from autonomous trucks. These developments will force automotive companies to become technology companies as well. They will want to develop IoT devices and retain control of their automotive vehicles. In other words, they are going to want a piece of the data pie, but it’s going to be hard with Amazon creating their own systems to gather and collect said data. This will force new revenue departments and negotiations between companies to access the data being collected too.
And then, of course, Amazon is also setting its eyes on the seas. In late January, Amazon started controlling shipping costs by becoming a logistics provider/organizer for ocean freights. They don’t own freights, but they can now ship products from their Chinese subsidiaries to their US companies. These plans aren’t quite as ambitious as their air and road pursuits, but maybe Amazon will have speed boat delivery services one day. We can hope at least.
In other words, Amazon is cutting shipping costs in all forms: air, road, and water to create their own comprehensive transportation network. They will be able to provide streamlined inventory management by conquering all forms of transportation.
Published at DZone with permission of Jeffrey Lee, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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