Report: Amazon Is Developing an Uber-Style Service for Package Delivery

By Matt Novak on at

Like Uber, but for delivering Amazon packages? In its ongoing effort to get packages to consumers as quickly as possible, Amazon may soon employ an Uber-like app that uses ordinary people as delivery drivers.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the plan is known as “On My Way” and would involve using urban retail outlets as pseudo-distribution centres. Traditional delivery services would presumably drop off packages to rented storefronts where Amazon has temporarily leased space. From there, amateur drivers would pick up the packages and deliver them to their final destination.

Amazon declined to comment to the WSJ, but there’s already concern about how this would work in our new trust-based contractor economy. The expert that the Wall Street Journal talked to asked, “What’s to stop these people from simply taking the packages for themselves instead of leaving it on someone’s porch?”

Well, the same things that would stop anyone at any job from stealing all of their employer’s goods. But yes, one can imagine that some people will try to scam the system. Just as there remain questions about how companies like Uber vet drivers through background checks, one imagines that this would become a minor question for Amazon’s efforts as well.

But if this delivery method ever became the norm you can expect that fewer people would begin to worry about the packages and more about the labour issues involved. Amazon has made a concerted effort in recent years to make same-day delivery the norm. And in so doing it has relied heavily on farming a lot of its work out to contractors at its new distribution facilities.

Interestingly, the WSJ notes that the way that delivery drivers would get paid hasn’t been completely figured out yet. One would imagine regular currency would be preferred but apparently Amazon is toying with the idea that drivers would be paid in credit good at Amazon. Should the latter occur, we should probably take it as a sign that AmazonPounds could become our national currency any day now.

Image: File photo of Amazon packages via Getty Images