The delivery of parcels by drones is an activity still in the making in the United States. Beyond limited pilot programs, it is not something that has managed to achieve the daily presence that has, for example, in China. There, JD.com and Alibaba have been using it since 2016 as the usual means to transport goods to the interior areas of the country.
However, that has not prevented the two large American retailers, Amazon and Walmart, have bet heavily on this distribution system, engaging in a technological war that ensures their primacy once this market begins to become popular there, which some estimate a value of 30,000 million dollars.
The score is 97-54 in favor of Walmart
A few days ago, during the ‘re: MARS’ conference, Amazon announced a new version of the messenger dron of its Prime Air service, autonomous and endowed with artificial intelligence. The greater international presence of the company of Bezos in front of Walmart also grants him a greater mediatic presence. A factor that can generate the sensation that Amazon occupies a comfortable position of leader in this race.
But this is not the case, according to the Financial Times, Walmart has actually managed to outperform Amazon in the number of approved patents linked to the development of drones. This was true in 2018 and, for now, it is in 2019. But a year ago the final balance was 57 patents against 54, since July 2018 the score is 97-54 in favor of Walmart.
The reason for the strong commitment of this company is due to its conviction that its greater territorial implantation in the USA. And its greater proximity to the consumer, since its stores are not usually located on the outskirts of cities, such as Amazon will allow you to more quickly monetize that investment.
The future of retail lies in the fast and affordable delivery
Tony Spillett, a partner at the BDO consultancy, says that “Walmart is part of the advantage that its physical stores give it, but it has to be able to compete with companies that can offer products to customers quickly. The future of retail lies in the fast and affordable delivery of the goods.”
Thus, Walmart has announced in recent months the appointment of former Google executive Suresh Kumar as director of technology, and an alliance with Alphabet to facilitate that users can place orders through voice commands on their smart home platforms.
For his part, Jeff Wilke, director of the global consumer division of Amazon, said his program of delivery of goods by drones would be underway in the United States in a few months. And that would allow him to deliver packages in a maximum of half an hour in a range of 24 kilometers around its logistics centers.