Shipping companies are using a $1 billion technology to deliver packages to and from customers, which makes them a lot more attractive for companies like Amazon.com Inc., which is using it to deliver its own packages.
Amazon says it has a system that can deliver packages in less than one-third the time and to customers in less time than it takes to drive a car.
But some are concerned that the way it’s used may lead to a rise in shipping costs and could make it more difficult for customers to get the products they need.
“If they are doing it on a service that’s not really the best,” said Kevin Kuehn, a senior vice president at consumer group Packaging Industry Association.
Amazon and other shipping companies say they are using algorithms that automatically predict when packages will be ready to ship.
But the algorithms can miss items that are more expensive than others, such as expensive items that can be shipped from overseas or items that aren’t always available.
The algorithms are supposed to help ensure the delivery happens as quickly as possible.
The U.S. Postal Service said in December that it was testing software to help it predict when customers will be able to open packages and that the company has not received any complaints.
Packaging companies have tried to protect customers by not shipping to some of the biggest cities, such Chicago and Boston, which are big cities with a high concentration of customers, said Gary Shulman, chief technology officer at Packaging & Mailing Services, which represents more than 300 shipping companies.
“We have to make sure we’re getting the delivery right for the customer,” he said.
“That’s what we’ve been doing all along.
We’ve been focusing on getting the package to the customer in the right place at the right time.”
But the companies have also been trying to make their products more efficient by using drones.
Some shipping companies, such Ascent, have made drone deliveries as a way to deliver more quickly and cheaper.
Ascent has been testing drones to deliver orders from Amazon.
In one example, it used drones to fly a package from California to Hawaii, delivering it within one-tenth of an hour.
The delivery cost less than $10 per package.
“Amazon is using drones to send packages.
That’s just one of many ways that Amazon has moved forward in terms of moving into the delivery space,” said Chris Columbus, chief executive of Ascent.
Amazon isn’t the only company looking at drones as a solution for shipping.
Other companies are testing the use of drones to make delivery more efficient.
FedEx has been working with the company to deliver parcels using drones, and FedEx said last year that it would use drones to pick up packages from customers in Boston.
In a statement, FedEx said its drones are used in two ways: To help deliver packages from one destination to another, such the airport or grocery store, and To make delivery times faster, such in a matter of minutes.
The company said drones can deliver parcels within three to four minutes.
FedEx said it uses drones in its service for the delivery of about 1.2 billion packages a year, mostly from the United States.
“Drones are a really big opportunity, and the company is focused on making sure we deliver the delivery the customer deserves,” Shulmen said.
The rise of the drones As many as 60 percent of all new shipments could be in the drones market by 2020, according to a report released by market research firm NPD Group.
That growth could accelerate as more companies look to use drones as delivery options.
As a result, UPS, FedEx and other large U.P. companies, including JetBlue Airways Corp., have been testing the delivery and delivery capabilities of drones, said David Smith, the company’s chief operating officer.
UPS and FedEx recently announced plans to roll out drone delivery to about 20 of their fulfillment centers.
The deliveries are a part of a pilot program that was launched last year.
FedEx and UPS are also testing drone delivery in select areas of the U.K. and Australia.
In addition to FedEx and Amazon, many other companies are experimenting with drones.
Amazon is testing delivery of packages in Boston and Chicago.
JetBlue, which was founded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, has said it will test drone delivery for its flights to Boston.
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