My life is so messy that I make a point of never telling other people what to do. But, of course, there must be exceptions. Hey Jeff, “Here’s how you ought to run your business.” That’s what I said to my acquaintance Steve Jobs back in about 1970 when he was hanging out at the Buttercup Cafe in Berkeley with Suzy Orman selling us our coffee. That’s about the time I was teaching art at SFCC. Of course, I was talking art and making things desirable looking and he obviously followed my advice and Apple products to this day are very tastefully designed. I hope you understand my humility.
Anyway, with that humble prologue, I want to give Jeff a few suggestions. Here is a system you could be testing in a couple of months. Say you have a person who will be hungry for a fresh salad living five miles east of Chiloquin, Oregon, on Outpost Road. He orders some lettuce, radishes, and Crazy Jack’s strange salad dressing concoction. You have these things available but the only Jack’s dressing is in your warehouse in Sacramento, California, the lettuce in a field two miles west of Yuba City, some radishes perfectly ripe four miles south of Chico. It would normally take your competitors several days to assemble these separate items and arrange for delivery via FED Ex, but here’s how you can do it in a few hours.
Start your delivery at your storage warehouse in Sacramento with your normal procedure, which prepares a proper size container for the bottle of Jack’s sauce, with space for the lettuce and radishes to be loaded in later. The specially equipped with drones trailer is loaded and departs going north toward Bend, Oregon, where it will reload with other people’s stuff normally. However, along the way, the special things will happen. The lettuce has been picked and shrink-wrapped while still in the field to make it into a generally known size and weight, and set on an open-to-the-sky identifiable to a drone scanner platform where it can be picked up by a local drone that flies both horizontally and vertically, which will place it on the roof of the briefly stopped truck. The truck will only be stopped long enough to pick up stuff and go. The same could be done with the radishes, but the truck could still be going at highway speed while the transfer is taking place because the trailer will have a mechanism for grasping and stabilizing the drone copter just above the truck’s wind turbulence for the few moments that the package is being transferred. Both the lettuce and the radish transactions are done through the special roof and the packages are sorted and arranged inside the trailer and put into the customer’s package for delivery.
As the truck drives past Chiloquin at highway speed a drone copter from the inside of the trailer would lift off from the roof, fly over to the Outpost Road customer, descend vertically to the designated spot, land and release the package. The drone copter would then lift up and fly to a safe fenced parking space near the highway. It would shut down and wait for a Bezos-authorized truck to drive by and then fly over and land on the roof to be assimilated, refueled and loaded with appropriate materials for its next delivery.
It’s all so easy to do when you have the right technology.