Amazon has hired a former Boeing executive to run its Prime Air drone delivery business, according tomedia CNET, marking the retail giant’s plans to expand the division to eventually launch a 30-minute drone delivery service. David Carbon left the troubled airline because of problems at his factory and joined Amazon this month, according to a company statement. He replaces Gur Kimchi, who has run Prime Air for the past seven years. Kimchi’s LinkedIn profile shows that he will continue to work at Amazon.
“We are pleased that David Carbon is joining Amazon in leading our next phase of the task of delivering drones to our customers in 30 minutes,” Brad Porter, Amazon’s vice president of robotics, said in a statement. With more than 20 years of experience, David is committed to expanding breakthrough aerospace innovations safely and reliably, and we look forward to his contribution as we expand our manufacturing and customer delivery businesses. “
The delivery of Prime Air and drones could dramatically change the retail world, encourage even more people to buy goods online, and weaken already troubled brick-and-mortar stores. Amazon has been discussing its drone delivery plans since 2013, although the service is still unable to offer customers because of aviation regulations. Carbon’s expertise is primarily in assembly and operations, but his years of experience in aviation can also help in terms of regulations.
The former Boeing executive stressed Amazon’s confidence in Prime Air, although the business may have a long way to go before it could become a customer. Currently, U.S. aviation and safety regulations restrict drone delivery, except in a very limited and controlled environment. The rules have not stopped Amazon from developing drones, and the company hopes the rules will eventually change. The company has piloted a 30-minute delivery service in the UK and tested it in a controlled environment in the US.
He resigned from Boeing last May after a New York Times investigation revealed low-level and weak oversight at the South Carolina aircraft factory that Carbon operated. The problems found in the New York Times existed at the plant for several years and continued after Carbon took over in 2016.
An Amazon spokesman declined to comment on the New York Times investigation. Carbon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.