Still, the airborne warehouse idea is sufficiently detailed to suggest that Amazon has put a lot of thought into this. It's actually the second major patent disclosure to make news this week. The giant retail company also filed plans to outfit its fleet of delivery drones with defensive equipment for guarding against hackers, lightning strikes, even bows and arrows. No, seriously.
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Then there is the matter of robots. A report over at GeekWire this week mined recent Amazon press releases and crunched some numbers: Apparently, the company now has around 45,000 "robotic units" online at 20 different distribution centers. That's up 50 percent from the 30,000 robots reported this time last year, which was in turn an increase from the 15,000 bots in use at the end of 2014.
Amazon has been pouring resources into automation technology for years now, but it seems that the industry at a whole is bracing for big changes in e-shopping. Digital marketing firm Walker Sands Communications just issued a Future of Retail study with some interesting survey numbers. In a poll of 1,400 consumers, 31 percent said they now shop online at least once a week, and almost half said that same-day shipping options would make them shop more often. Forty percent of respondents fully expect drone delivery of packages within two years.
If the demand is there, then Amazon is – of course – all about supply. It seems our brave new world of space-age shopping is coming in fast.
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