Self-driving delivery vehicles plus self-flying drones? Now there’s an Amazon patent for that BY ALAN BOYLE on December 24, 2019 at 12:10 pm

Combination delivery system

For a long time, Amazon has been looking into applications for self-driving vehicles — and testing fleets of self-flying drones for making package deliveries. So it only makes sense that the Seattle-based online retailing giant would meld those vehicles for a warehouse-to-doorstep delivery system virtually untouched by human hands.

In a patent published today, Amazon inventors Hilliard Bruce Siegel and Ethan Evans describe a system that has autonomous ground vehicles transport packages to a customer’s neighborhood — perhaps even the street in front of the customer’s door — and coordinate the doorstep delivery with a drone.

Both types of robo-carriers would be in contact wirelessly with a central computer network that would manage the operation. The ground vehicle could be directed to head over to a fulfillment center, pick up shipments and plot a course for deliveries. Drones could flit back and forth to drop off packages and charge up at the vehicle.

Various diagrams show how the drones could pick up packages from a vehicle in the street, then fly over to drop off deliveries on doorsteps, designated drop zones and upper-floor balconies. Some diagrams show big delivery truck as the base of operations, while other show a smaller delivery robot like the ones that are being tested north of Seattle.

The drones could be owned or operated by an entity that’s distinct from the ground-vehicle service — for example, by the managers of the apartment building that’s being serviced. You could have different companies put in charge of deliveries in different neighborhoods. The important thing is that everything’s coordinated through a central network.

Such a combination system would solve several challenges: For example, the battery-powered drones wouldn’t have to use as much juice as they would if they were flying directly from a fulfillment center to make a delivery. There’d be less noise, and less need to fly over other people’s property.

For ground vehicles, the system not only bridges the “last mile” of a delivery route — it addresses the last 100 feet. Siegel and Evans, who are veterans in the patent business, say that’s becoming increasingly important.

“Over time, an increasing frequency and volume of deliveries of items from e-commerce and mail-order companies has resulted in an increased need for faster and more efficient delivery methods,” they write.

There’s one more twist to the application: It cites a GeekWire story about Google’s patent for using drones to pick up shipments and fly them to a mobile dropbox.

The application was filed back in 2016, and there’s no guarantee that Amazon will develop an all-autonomous delivery system like the one described. But the description does provide an indication of what Amazon has been thinking about as it builds out its own end-to-end delivery system.

For what it’s worth, Amazon has been investing what’s thought to be hundreds of millions of dollars with transportation startups such as Rivian and Aurora. Amazon plans to buy 100,000 all-electric Rivian vans for its delivery fleet. And recentlypublished patent applications indicate that both Rivian and Aurora are putting a lot of effort into making their vehicles autonomous, even under challenging conditions.

The big question is, what took so long for someone to get the patent for this idea? We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment, and will update this item with anything substantial we hear.

Love space and science? Sign up for our GeekWire Space & Science email newsletter for top headlines from Alan Boyle, GeekWire’s aerospace and science editor.

GeekWire aerospace and science editor Alan Boyle is an award-winning science writer and veteran space reporter. Formerly of NBCNews.com, he is the author of “The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference.” Follow him via CosmicLog.com, on Twitter @b0yle, and on Facebook and MeWe.

Planning = Execution….not really

Have you been frustrated when well developed and well funded plans fail to produce results? Strategic planning, as difficult and painful as it feels when immersed in the data and long meetings CANNOT guarantee predictable results without an execution plan. Planning by itself , albeit critical is simply wasting time and resources without strict accountability actions baked into the sauce.

Suggested reading on this topic:

Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done  by Larry Bossidy 

person writing on white book
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Hospitality Experts in Sacramento adds a West Sacramento Facility

The Sacramento Metro market is the HOTTEST hospitality market in California.

Chipman Relocations and Logistics/ Sacramento run by industry veteran Ed Melton (916-563-7472,  emelton@chipmanrelo.com) has taken his team to entirely different level.

  • Freight Management
  • Warehouse management – on demand
  • Model room installation
  • Room in a box experts
  • 24/7 Deliveries
  • Installation
  • Headboard Installation experts
  • Art Work installation
  • Fixture and lighting installation
  • Project management
  • Space planning
  • Carpet storage
  • Attic stock inventory management
  • White glove service / 24/7

 

20160915_164229

20150715_091238 (1)
Pallet Positions available in SAFE West Sacramento business district.

Corporate Relocation Services to move your office conveniently — Linkindia Logistics

Making a decision to move your office space or home gives you anxious moments because it is time for you to decide what must stay and what must go. You will also need to consider the services of packaging companies or relocation companies who specialize in relocation services. It requires time to research and speak to […]

via Corporate Relocation Services to move your office conveniently — Linkindia Logistics

Proposed State Budget Increases Fail to Address Critical Issues in Higher Education

by Taylor Myers

Policy and Research Analysis

On January 10, 2018, Governor Brown released his final budget proposal, a $131.7 billion spending plan for the next fiscal year. The proposal earmarks $18.5 billion in General Fund appropriations for higher education. Following its release, California Competes published an initial analysis of the new budget which highlighted an expansion of investments in full-time student success and innovations targeted at the millions of workers who lack a college credential. While there are many reasons to be optimistic about the proposal, as a policy blueprint, it fails to address several critical issues for improving student access and success across the state:

1. Investing in college completion is critical to promote degree attainment and close the degree gap.

California needs 2.4 million more credentials and degrees by 2025 to remain economically competitive and closing this gap requires every segment to significantly increase degree attainment. The state has historically been inconsistent with imposing enrollment goals on CSU and UC, and has never imposed a strict completion or attainment goal on the segments. This year is no different—the Governor’s budget does not include any enrollment growth or completion rate expectations for either the UC or CSU.

2. Strong policies to support on-time completion and transfer should support the cost of non-tuition expenses while students attend full-time.

Research suggests that full time students who work between five and ten hours per week are less likely to see their academic performance impaired by their jobs than students who work more than 20 hours per week. However, many students need to work longer hours to cover living expenses. Incentive programs that seek to increase full-time attendance, like the proposed consolidated grant for full-time Community College students, should consider the difficult decisions students face when deciding between academics and work. The California College Promise may address this challenge for students who are eligible for regional college promise programs; regions may use their local programs to support students for a second year of full-time attendance, or to cover non-tuition costs. For students who do not qualify for the California College Promise, or who are not additionally covered by a regional college promise program, a solution has yet to be offered.

3. California’s competitive economy depends on increasing degree attainment, which can’t happen without statewide cross-segmental coordination and aligned data practices.

This spending plan doesn’t address the need for statewide, cross-segmental coordination of higher education systems. Several legislative attempts to create one have been introduced, including the current measure AB 1936, authored by Assembly Members Low and Eggman. Over the last several months, policymakers have shown interest in revisiting the Master Plan for Higher Education and in considering more aligned goals for the state’s public higher education segments. But despite demonstrated enthusiasm from policymakers, the budget does not address the need for statewide coordination.

Nor does it include any impactful provisions for data collection and sharing – it leaves institutions to continue to serve as gatekeepers and stewards of information on student and programmatic outcomes. Currently, state policymakers and researchers have no way of efficiently and robustly evaluating the impacts of the state’s higher education investments. California desperately needs a statewide longitudinal data system to evaluate the impacts of the myriad of programs receiving funds from the state.

As they continue to refine the state’s 2018-2019 higher education budget, policymakers should consider the efficacy of the policy changes proposed in the current budget in the absence of the critical components discussed above. Addressing the needs of California’s diverse student population and ensuring equity in educational attainment and economic opportunities requires significant investment from the state in meaningful segmental or institutional goals, stronger higher education finance policies, intentional cross-segmental coordination, and a robust longitudinal student data system.