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Amazon’s drone delivery efforts are for the birds

BY CSA STAFF

There’s more to drone-based deliveries than just dropping parcels — at least it is for Amazon.

The online giant is developing an air-traffic control system to manage its fleet of drones as they fly from warehouses to customers’ doors — a move that will ensure the devices don’t collide with “non-collaborative flying objects” during delivery, Bloomberg reported. These include buildings, trees, other drones and — the most unpredictable — birds.

In the report, Paul Misener, Amazon’s VP for global innovation policy and communications said, “Going from a warehouse to a customer’s location, a drone has to fly in the right direction, find it, but also avoid all the things along the way.”

The air-traffic software will be loaded onto the drones, allowing the devices to communicate risks with each other in real-time, as well as a central control center. The drones will also have integrated detailed maps that pinpoint static and temporary objects, and weather conditions. Drones will also be programmed with instructions on how to respond if they come near — or strike — a bird, according to the report.

Amazon created its own traffic control system after concluding current solutions don’t support large fleets of autonomous drones. The project is being lead by a new 12-person research and development team, which has expertise in aviation as well as machine learning and artificial intelligence. The group resides near Paris, the report said.

To read more, click here.

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Athleisure brand adds new tech lead

BY CSA STAFF

Lululemon has named a new chief technology officer.

According to a report in GeekWire, Julie Averill is joining the retailer as its new executive VP and chief technology officer. Currently, Averill is the CIO at REI.

Averill led REI’s technology strategy and IT operations for three years. She also spearheaded the company’s migration to the cloud, according to the report.

In the report, a Lululemon spokesperson said the company is “thrilled to welcome Julie Averill to the Lululemon team as executive VP and chief technology officer.”

Lululemon is expected to announce sales for its fiscal second quarter on June 1, after the market closes. Based on 15 analysts' forecasts, the consensus EPS forecast for the quarter is $0.28. The reported EPS for the same quarter last year was $0.3.

Averill is expected to stay in Seattle, according to GeekWire.

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Real estate developer acquires luxury footwear brand

BY Marianne Wilson

Harrys of London has a new owner with an interesting portfolio who wants to expand the brand.

The luxury footwear and accessories brand has been acquired by Charles S. Cohen, a New York real estate developer and media entrepreneur. Cohen, who acquired 100% interest in Harrys from Palladin Consumer Retail Partners, will assume the position of chairman. Palladin acquired a majority stake in Harrys in 2014.

Cohen is the owner, chairman and CEO of Cohen Media Group, an independent film production and distribution company that owns an extensive library of classic films. His real estate holdings include more than 12 million square feet of prime Class A and design center properties across the United States. Cohen recently acquired a majority stake in Savile Row luxury menswear house Richard James.

“Harrys of London has been a brand I have supported and respected for a long time, bringing a unique mix of luxury, contemporary craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology and design,” Cohen stated. “We see huge potential for expansion across the U.S., London, Asia and the Middle East, and I am eager to help the team grow Harrys on a global scale.”

Steven Newey, the CEO of Harry, will continue to head up the brand in his current role.

“I am incredibly excited to partner with Charles in bringing the Harrys of London brand to the next level,” Newey said. “Charles brings a unique vision and background that will be invaluable in our future growth. We are looking forward to taking full advantage of the new horizons this partnership will open up.”

Harrys of London was founded in 2001 with the mission of using new technologies to create high-end dress shoes. In addition to a store in London, it has locations in Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The company’s products are also available at department stores and specialty stores worldwide, including Barneys, Harrods, Holt Renfrew, Lane Crawford and Mr. Porter.

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