Sheehan & Associates, P.L.C.

Delivery drones coming to a Detroit neighborhood near you

Successful Detroit business owners know that a company often needs to evolve and grow to remain viable. Business planning is not just something you do at start-up. It is on-going.

Detroit television viewers who tuned into "60 Minutes" on Thanksgiving weekend saw the latest innovation in fast merchandise delivery by Jeff Bezos, the CEO and founder of Amazon. It is drones. The drone deliveries will be made via a system called Prime Air. The system, which may seem like something out of "The Jetsons" is designed to get merchandise from the online retail giant from warehouse to consumer in 30 minutes or under.

Amazon, which has become the go-to online marketplace for just about everything, has already been steadily increasing its delivery speed and convenience to customers. It recently announced a deal with the U.S. Postal Service for Sunday deliveries of Amazon merchandise.

The unmanned drones aren't for all merchandise. The package must weigh no more than five pounds. However, as Bezos told "60 Minutes" viewers, that's the vast majority of its merchandise. The way it works is that when an item is ordered, it goes into a container and on a conveyor belt. The drone grabs it and flies it to the consumer's home or office. There, it is literally dropped on the doorstep.

Bezos cautions that while they are doing test runs of the drones, real-world use is likely five years away. For one thing, the Federal Aviation Administration does not yet have regulations for this type of aerial vehicle.

Amazon has been successful in no small part because Bezos has taken its profits and used them to grow and diversify the company. No doubt the company has experienced corporate attorneys who help the retail giant navigate the regulatory and legal hurdles that any business faces as it expands. Now they just have to work with the criminal justice system to determine the suitable punishment for people who decide that its fun to shoot these delivery drones out of the sky.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "With Prime Air, Amazon plans to deliver purchases via drones" Andrea Chang, Dec. 02, 2013

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