Over the last few years, drone delivery has grown from an unproven idea into a fully functional business model, albeit with limited applications. UPS was granted FAA approval to carry out commercial drone deliveries last year, and its Flight Forward arm has since begun working with hospitals on implementing drone applications.
Amazon applied for its FAA exemption last year, and the company's Worldwide Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke told the re:MARS conference Amazon would be able to start drone delivery "within months." But Amazon has been part of the drone delivery conversation since the early days, with CEO Jeff Bezos outlining the idea seven years ago on 60 Minutes.
"The reason why Amazon and others are pushing for drone-based delivery services is twofold," said Matthias Winkenbach, director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Megacity Logistics Lab. "One, it provides speed, and two, it can provide efficiency."