Up, up and away.
Almost exactly three years ago, Amazon unveiled their plans for aerial domination featuring drone delivery.
At the time, the company's head, Jeff Bezos (now one of the ten richest people in the world), estimated that delivering packages from the sky would take around four or five years to begin. With its first package-shipping flight, the company exceeded those expectations, delivering a box with a bag of popcorn and an Amazon Fire TV device to a house near the company's fulfillment center in Cambridge England.
From the order click to the arrival of the popcorn, the first Amazon Prime Air delivery process totaled about thirteen minutes, which clocks in under half the stated goal time of thirty minutes per delivery (though it had a relatively short trip, since the current testing area is only five square miles).
At the moment, the literal cloud-computing program is in its beta phase, servicing a grand total of two customers in the United Kingdom.
This is because the process Amazon uses to get the drones from their facilities to homes is entirely automated. For the time being, the United States Federal Aviation Administration requires that drones have pilots and that those pilots have a line of sight to their flying machine the whole time.
Amazon has around one hundred and thirty-five warehouses containing its goods around the world ("fulfillment centers" is a term the company coined) with about seventy of those in America alone. The online retail company already offers delivery on the same day (and often within the hour) in at least thirteen American cities.
Estimates suggest Amazon has fulfillment centers within twenty miles of around 30 percent of the American population, and as much as sixty-five percent of its same-day customer base in the country.
This could mean that as soon as the shipping giant (whose original domain name, by the way, is www.relentless.com) gets permission to launch its automated drones in the U.S., it will be able to completely eliminate the human component from a major chunk of its shipping, since its warehouses are mostly staffed and stocked by robots.
Combine this innovation with the grocery stores that feature no check-out clerks, and Amazon is at the forefront of the automation revolution.