Amazon Prime Air Aims to Deliver Your Package by Flying Drones in 2015

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brannank

Jeff Bezos has backed off Amazon's drone delivery plans after HUGE public disapproval.

http://mashable.com/2013/12/06/amazon-drone-parody/

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b_c_pc

This is such a treasure trove of humor. The jokes that can be made here are practically endless. I already commented on a few of them in an earlier post.

Seriously though, the comments preceding this point out a lot of "gotchas" with this idea: weather, things getting in the way of the drones, accident liability, areas that are inaccessible to the drones, idiots with guns, "pirates" and the limitations on the size, weight and types of packages that can be delivered by these things.

Also, I'm wondering how they are going to work out the energy density problem with the batteries that will be powering these things. As it currently stands, these drones will presumably have rather limited range (due to battery capacity) and will have to regularly return to their launch sites in order to be recharged.

With all of these hurdles to overcome, it seems like these drones won't be seeing wide-spread use any time soon.

On the other hand, it occurs to me that perhaps Amazon never intended to implement these drones to begin with. I'm wondering if one or more of Amazon's contracts with the delivery services they use are up for renewal/renegotiation? If Amazon can convince the delivery services that they are serious about these drones, that could be quite a bargaining chip couldn't it?

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maxeeemum

_

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Obsidian

This will be quickly OK'ed by US government (via the FAA) so they can fly their own drones around cities with IR and HD cameras in tow. No one will ask what they are since Amazon has been shipping packages that way. To prevent citizens from shooting them down they will make it a felony to damage any aircraft, even drones.

These drones won't be able to operate in metropolitan areas due to wind issues between buildings, practicality of delivering to an apartment etc. This dovetails nicely into eyes in the sky because there are already robust surveillance systems in densely populated metro areas.

These will only be able to be used in good to fair weather in the suburbs and semi-rural areas. The northern part of the country experiences some nasty winter weather and these small drones won't hold up well in those conditions. How about a place with mature trees? Can't really deliver a package there. Or flowers/bushes/shrubs along your walk way leading to the house - either the drone can't land or it will get stuck and/or ruins said items.

Drones taking out power lines to homes isn't too far fetched. They won't exactly take down a utility pole though.

There are some really great comments here about this story.

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legionera

This is happening only in a world where your USB 3.0 drive, gets delivered faster than an ambulance could reach your home on time.

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Hondoe1950

This is one of the stupidest and worst thought out hare-brained schemes that I've heard in a long time.

The drones will be cutting through wires, giving heart attacks to cats and dogs, killing birds, distracting drivers, and creating incredible noise.

There's no chance it will be cost effective, especially because, as said elsewhere, a new sport will arise quickly: shooting drones. Just think of the resale value of each drone (not to mention the items purloined).

And when it's inclement weather, the rain, snow and wind will wreak havoc on the drones!

Amazon, you would be much better off directing your think tanks to address the horrible treatment of your employees instead of wasting money on this mess.

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jgrimoldy

In the 60 Minutes interview, Bezos came across as brilliant, with a much longer view of the company than simply next quarter's profits, etc.

However once he showed the Prime Air, "brilliant" crossed over into bat-shit crazy.

I could see this working in some situations but still too much liability and security risk. All with a HUGE price tag. If the distribution center is going to be within drone-flight range, I'm just fine and dandy with driving over to do a will-call 30 minutes after placing the order.

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firefox91

Regardless of how practical this is, I think the idea itself is great. The video itself was just funny and cool to watch. As far as it being a "job killer", it's progress. For every job killer, there is a new more skilled job created. Technology killed telephone switch operators and pay phone repair tech jobs too. Should we have held ourselves back just so someone could keep those jobs?

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b_c_pc

Oh, the possibilities....

1) "You can keep the package - I just got me a cool new drone!" (while carrying drone inside - after having tackled it while it was hovering just above ground level).

2) In the country while hunting...
Hunter 1: BLAM! - "Wow, I just got me a new computer!"
Hunter 2: BLAM! - "Oh yea? Well, I just picked up a new set of speakers for my home theater (that I got with the last two drones I shot down)!"

3) Hacker's paradise...
Hackers will have built vast empires after figuring out how to take over delivery drones and have them deliver their packages to them. They then can use their ill-gotten gains to build even more effective means of taking control of the delivery drones so they can then accelerate their rate of acquisitions (picture of hacker sitting in a fortified bunker with a vast network of antennas and a data center that dwarfs anything that Google has -- all of which came courtesy of Amazon's drones).

4) Terrorists...
"I got yer package right here..." (picture of a fast approaching drone).

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Aerumnosus

Haven't seen to many sets of Home Theater speakers way less than Five pounds lol. Anyways, I'm pretty sure with the money Amazon has they will easily track their Prime-Air systems as well as have some sort of on-board camera system. I also heard that by Tackling and stealing one will win you a free ride in a Police car.

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froggz

Please lord make this happen.

This is going to be so awesome.

I can't wait to see pirate drones, hijacking packages and new police drones that would have to be developed to help combat the piracy. Huge drone battles going on right above the neighborhoods.

Can life get better than this?
I submit that it can not!!

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Jeffredo

I already get happy when my two day Prime deliveries turn into only one day when it comes from their Reno warehouse (to my home in Northern Calif).

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vrmlbasic

Bezos said that this was years away but I don't think that everyone at his company heard him as Amazon is already asking me to review products that I have ordered from them but that UPS says have yet to ship.

When Amazon starts charging sales tax, even if they do have this "30 minute delivery" (at additional cost, I take it) I think that I'll be better served going to my local stores as already Amazon isn't always cheaper, I just find the tax-free sale + free 2 day shipping convenient. My local Amazon distribution hub is pretty sketchy anyhow.

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jimmthang

I love technology and all, but is anyone else worried that trends like these will KILL jobs?...

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vrmlbasic

Maybe USPS will lobby the FAA against this lol.

Bezos was asked about job killing in that 60 minutes bit and pretty much said "evolve or die", that Amazon wasn't killing the old way, the future was. When Bezos talks about his business he almost sounds like someone who would fit right in at Galt's Gulch...

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jimmthang

I'll have to see the interview. I understand the pragmitism behind it and the convenience it may bring, but I can't help but feel that the robots are taking over. :/

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brannank

Most people in the US have a very healthy distrust of Government, as our Founding Fathers encouraged us to. Don't exchange our Liberties for convenience. The oath I took when enlisting in the US Navy, was "to protect the Constitution from enemies BOTH foreign and DOMESTIC". The farther away from a Police State we are the better.

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."

1791 Dec. 23. (to Archibald Stuart) "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.

-President Thomas Jefferson

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Bucket_Monster

I also like how the video shows it flying over empty countryside. Of course that's easy to navigate. Show me this working in a major city.

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Leo Scott

Each delivery comes with a free haircut too. Drones flown by foreigners over a satellite, what an idea.

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Bucket_Monster

Bad idea. So many problems that would happen. It would be unusable in bad weather, these drones would get blown around, freeze over with ice, pretty much be vulnerable to any bad weather conditions. Also, not everybody lives in a house. How would you get it inside an apartment complex? Leaving it at the doorstep of the building itself would be a terrible idea.

Even if you have someone piloting it via a tiny camera, it still wouldn't mean it would be able to navigate properly. Drones work for the military because you're just flying overhead and bombing. Something that would have to intricately navigate all sorts of urban scenarios and buildings is destined to fail, even if you had someone trying to pilot it.

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vrmlbasic

FAA rules ensure public safety? I guess it COULD happen in 2 years but...

This idea sounds rather ludicrous to me. I'd rather not have an endless swarm of Amazon drones buzzing through the skies in my neighborhood. I don't want low-flying drones buzzing over my property; UPS drivers at least stick to the roads. Bezos said that 80-some-percent of Amazon's shipments are drone-deliverable. If UPS doesn't have a special interest group to stop this, it will.

On the 60 Minutes special Bezos had a line about drones "being green" because they were all electrical and better for the environment than driving trucks, which is BS as it stands. Is he going to build some modern nuclear power plants to power its drones?

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Carlidan

It doesn't have to use nuclear power to power them drones. You know there are alternative ways to get electricity. The probably could put solar panels on them.

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Agelos

And the next step on 2020 is the...DeliverMan (1st cousin of SuperMan)?

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dedgar

Unless Amazon opens a facility a whole lot closer to me that 30 minute drone delivery is a pipe dream.

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Hey.That_Dude

I wonder how this would work for people in apartments or sky-scrappers. There is also a problem of packages falling from the sky and hurting people...

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Neufeldt2002

I can see these being shot out of the sky. Or intercepted in some manner.

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vonhulio

+1 Check out my new octo-copter....

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Mikey109105

I bet it won't deliver to my house on Long Island! The day something I order online is delivered in 30 minutes or less is the day hell freezes over. Then again, Amazon does deliver anything I order within 3 business days since I'm a Prime customer, so I can't complain.