Amazon wins FAA approval for Prime Air drone delivery fleet

 

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  • Amazon on Monday received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate its fleet of Prime Air delivery drones.
  • The approval will give Amazon broad privileges to “safely and efficiently deliver packages to customers,” the FAA said.
  • Amazon joins UPS and Alphabet-owned Wing, who previously won FAA approval for their drone delivery operations.

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Amazon is rolling out grocery carts that let shoppers skip checkout lines, bag their groceries and walk out

Amazon launching smart grocery carts that track shoppers’ items

Amazon is launching smart shopping carts at its Woodland Hills, California, grocery store in 2020.

Dash Carts are embedded with cameras, sensors and a smart display that automatically track a shopper’s order.

Similar to Amazon’s cashierless Go stores, Dash Carts allow shoppers to avoid checkout lines as they exit the store.

Amazon is launching shopping carts that track items as shoppers add them, then automatically charges them when they remove the grocery bags, allowing them to skip the checkout line.

The Dash Carts will roll out at Amazon’s new Los Angeles-area grocery store, which is slated to open this year, the company announced Tuesday.

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Now all your home’s Alexa devices work like an intercom

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Amazon’s ‘Drop In’ feature now works across the entire house.

Amazon Alexa users can now use the “Drop In” feature to talk with all of their Echo devices at once, Amazon announced on its blog. Previously, Drop In messages could only be sent to one other Alexa-enabled device at a time — a user with an Alexa device in the bedroom could “drop in” on a device in the kitchen and have a two-way conversation.

Now, you can use a device to send a message to all Echo devices in the house at once. This could be helpful with asking group questions like, “Does anyone want anything from the grocery store?” according to the Amazon blog. To start a group Drop In conversation, you can ask Alexa to “Drop In everywhere.”

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Amazon looking to buy four Fairway stores amid coronavirus chaos

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The Woodland Park, New Jersey Fairway Market (pictured) is one the locations Amazon is targeting.

Amazon is on the prowl once again — and this time it’s eyeing a handful of supermarkets owned by New York City grocer Fairway Market, The Post has learned.

The tech juggernaut run by Jeff Bezos is bidding on four stores owned by the bankrupt Fairway in New York and New Jersey, including one in Brooklyn, home to a popular waterfront mega-market in Red Hook, sources told The Post.

The auction, which kicked off Monday and continued into Thursday, comes as the coronavirus brings the country to its knees, raising recession fears. But COVID-19 has also proven a boon for Amazon’s online ordering business as people hunker down at home.

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Amazon is expanding its cashierless Go model into a full-blown grocery store

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The first Amazon Go Grocery opens today in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district

Amazon is getting more serious about its brick-and-mortar retail ambitions with its first-ever Amazon-branded grocery store. The store opens today in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district, confirming reports from last year that Amazon was developing a more ambitious version of its cashier-less Go model. The new store, which The Verge toured late last week, is indeed modeled after a standard Amazon Go location, but it has been expanded to include a wide array of grocery items you’d find at, say, Amazon-owned Whole Foods.

In fact, the store does source a number of its items, including some produce and meat and other fresh food, from Whole Foods suppliers. It also carries Whole Foods’ 365 brand for certain items. But Amazon’s store offers other products, like Kellogg’s breakfast cereal and Coke products, that you won’t find at Amazon’s higher-end, organic-focused subsidiary.

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Amazon’s AI automatically dubs videos into other languages

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Ever wish you could automatically dub foreign film dialogue into another tongue? Amazon is on the case. In a paper published this week on the preprint server Arxiv.org, researchers from the tech giant detailed a novel “speech-to-speech” pipeline that taps AI to align translated speech with original speech and fine-tune speech duration before adding background noise and reverberation. They say that it improves the perceived naturalness of dubbing and highlights the relative importance of each proposed step.

As the paper’s coauthors note, automatic dubbing involves transcribing speech to text and translating that text into another language before generating speech from the translated text. The challenge isn’t simply conveying the same content of the source audio, but matching the original timbre, emotion, duration, prosody (i.e., patterns of rhythm and sound), background noise, and reverberation.

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Amazon is working to develop biometric scanners to link handprints to credit cards, allowing shoppers to buy with the swipe of their palm

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  • Amazon is working with credit card companies to create terminals to allow users to pay for items with biometric data from their handprint.
  • The online retailer previously patented such technology, which had been presumed to be used at its Whole Food stores
  • Amazon currently allows shoppers at its Amazon Go grocery store to pay for items without ever going through a checkout process by downloading the Amazon Go app.
  • The technology could give Amazon more information about consumer spending habits, which could allow them to charge a higher rate to advertisers.

Amazon has plans to create payment terminals that would allow shoppers to link a credit card with their own handprint, allowing them to pay at brick-and-mortar stores by simply waving their hand across a scanner, according to a report Saturday from The Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ reported that discussions to create the pay-by-hand terminals are in their early stages, though Amazon has already begun the development process with Visa and is in talks to work with MasterCard.

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Jeff Bezos bullish on India, will invest $1 billion to digitize small businesses

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Amazon hopes to export goods worth $10 billion from India by 2025

 Jeff Bezos said Amazon will invest another $1 billion in India to help 10 million Indian small and medium businesses (SMBs) sell online amid nationwide protests by neighbourhood shopkeepers against his visit and the competition watchdog ordering a probe into ecommerce platforms.

Amazon, which has invested more than $5 billion in India since 2013, said its latest programme will help SMBs participate in India’s rapidly growing ecommerce and that it hopes to export locally made goods worth $10 billion from the country by 2025.

“Our goal is, don’t forget, to make sure that more people can participate in the prosperity of India,” Bezos told the audience at an Amazon event in New Delhi.

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Vast majority of UK adults ‘uncomfortable’ with delivery drivers entering their empty homes

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Waitrose’s While You’re Away service allows delivery drivers to enter customer’s homes to unpack their shopping

The vast majority of UK adults are uncomfortable with the idea of delivery drivers entering their homes to drop off shopping while they’re out, new research has revealed.

Waitrose first trialled its While You’re Away delivery service in October 2018, which saw its shopping delivery drivers enter customers’ houses and put away their shopping in fridges and cupboards, thanks to a temporary access code linked to a home’s Yale smart lock.

The supermarket has insisted there is something “very beautiful” about its customers forgetting they even made an order and then coming home to see their goods already in cupboards.

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What will make cargo bike package delivery succeed in New York?

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Lessons from other cities that have started replacing trucks with bikes.

What will make cargo bike package delivery succeed in New York?

At a UPS operating center in midtown Manhattan, two cargo delivery bikes will soon begin rolling out of a driveway in the morning a few hours before the usual delivery trucks begin their routes. The company is part of a new six-month pilot program in New York City that will test how well cargo bikes, with electric “pedal assist” for couriers, can potentially help relieve traffic by replacing some delivery trucks. A similar system is already in use in several other cities around the world: New York can learn from what’s working elsewhere to consider how the pilot could scale up.

In European cities, UPS typically brings a shipping container from a depot to a spot in the city center early in the morning, and couriers on bikes take loads of deliveries to nearby neighborhoods. Since the cargo bikes can’t carry as much as a truck, the cyclists have to make multiple trips; the system only makes economic sense in congested areas where trucks struggle to park, but bikes can reach customers more quickly. (We’re using the term bike liberally here, many of these vehicles have more than two wheels.)

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Amazon’s AI creates synthesized singers

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AI and machine learning algorithms are quite skilled at generating works of art — and highly realistic images of apartments, people, and pets to boot. But relatively few have been tuned to singing synthesis, or the task of cloning musicians’ voices.

Researchers from Amazon and Cambridge put their collective minds to the challenge in a recent paper in which they propose an AI system that requires “considerably” less modeling than previous work of features like vibratos and note durations. It taps a Google-designed algorithm — WaveNet — to synthesize the mel-spectrograms, or representations of the power spectrum of sounds, which another model produces using a combination of speech and signing data.

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New Amazon capabilities put machine learning in reach of more developers

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Today, Amazon announced a new approach that it says will put machine learning technology in reach of more developers and line of business users. Amazon has been making a flurry of announcements ahead of its re:Invent customer conference next week in Las Vegas.

While the company offers plenty of tools for data scientists to build machine learning models and to process, store and visualize data, it wants to put that capability directly in the hands of developers with the help of the popular database query language, SQL.

By taking advantage of tools like Amazon QuickSight, Aurora and Athena in combination with SQL queries, developers can have much more direct access to machine learning models and underlying data without any additional coding, says VP of artificial intelligence at AWS, Matt Wood.

“This announcement is all about making it easier for developers to add machine learning predictions to their products and their processes by integrating those predictions directly with their databases,” Wood told TechCrunch.

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