Uber plans to launch food delivery drone program by 2021- or not
“We need flying burgers”; Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi made a statement at the Uber Elevate summit in May, claiming that delivering food by drone could solve urban mobility problems. This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the company planned to launch its food delivery drones by 2021, based on an executive job post that was later taken down from Uber’s website. The post was for an operations manager position, to handle the drones and assist in launching the Uber Express program.
This story has gotten everybody talking as it is the first mention of a timeline for the project and it is an ambitious one at that, particularly considering all the technological and regulatory hurdles that still remain in place. According to a spokesperson, the post was removed because it does not accurately reflect the Uber Express program “which is still in very early days”. Though a bill was recently passed in the US, which gives the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the mandate to regulate and therefore authorize the use of drones for commercial deliveries, the authority doesn’t expect to complete its research and pilot programs for at least another two years. Whether Uber would be able to pull off such a move by 2021 is therefore very uncertain.
What are your views on drones delivering food?
Click here to find out more.
Nations call upon the IMO for a gradual roll-out of new fuel regulations
Shipping companies fear being crushed by the financial weight of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) low-sulfur fuel oil requirement deadline. The organization’s global sulfur limit of 0.50% is set to come into place on January 1, 2020, aiming to slash sulfur in marine fuel by a total of 80%. White House projections indicate that the global economics costs of implementation could surpass $100 billion. Furthermore fuel costs make up the highest fraction of shipping expenses and low-sulfur oil is expected to boost existing fuel costs by more than 50%.
After recent concerns raised by the US and other key nations, proposals for a short 2 month extension and an “experience building” phase were submitted for discussion at the IMO’s meeting in London on Wednesday. Some countries were also in favor of adopting open-ended deferrals, which would enable ships to continue using heavy fuel if cleaner fuels aren’t available at ports or in the event of safety or engine problems caused by the new fuel blends. The proposal for a delay was, however, rejected and instead a new enforcement process shall be implemented. This new process requires all new proposals to be issued to the MEPC about whether the rules can secure the right quality and availability of fuels which live up to the 2020 requirements.
Port of Rotterdam takes on container blockchain pilot
Europe’s largest port has partnered with Samsung SDS and Dutch bank ABM AMRO to launch a blockchain pilot, in an effort to digitize and coordinate container logistics and payments. The main objective of the pilot is to completely integrate all “physical, administrative and financial streams within international distribution chains” and to make freight monitoring and financing “as easy as ordering a book online”.
The port authority’s CFO Paul Smit explained that the current system has much inefficiency, as all payments, administrative processes and container transportation are undertaken by entirely separate circuits and are documented on paper. This pilot will cover everything from workflow management, tracking and traceability to digitizing paper records, with the goal of establishing “an open, independent and global platform that operates from the perspective of shippers”. Through the use of blockchain, all parties involved will be able to coordinate their activities without the need for central management. This will also be one of the first cases where different and entirely separate blockchains will be operating together under one platform.
You can read the press release here.