Amazon is making a big push into owning its logistics network, aiming to rely less on FedEx and UPS.
Amazon has finally announced it has formed an in-house team focused on driverless vehicle technology within its drone division. The WSJ writes that, “For now, Amazon doesn’t intend to build a fleet of vehicles, according to these people. Instead, the team serves as an in-house think tank to figure out how to leverage autonomous vehicles.”
As we covered in last week’s Amazon Strategy Teardown, Amazon is making a big push into owning its logistics network, aiming to rely less on FedEx and UPS. Its efforts to achieve more independence in land, air, and marine transport mean Amazon is finishing development of a $1.5B air freight center in Kentucky, will lease 40 “Prime Air” cargo jets, and has bought thousands of its own truck trailers. In addition, the company is acting as a freight forwarder by helping Chinese suppliers book space on ocean vessels.
As autonomous vehicles increasingly become a reality of middle-mile and last-mile logistics, having an autonomous initiative would be strategically aligned with these efforts (unmanned vehicles would play a role in both segments of the logistics chain). Our patent analysis in the teardown showed that Amazon has started to patent heavily in the logistics and autonomous drone space.