Amazon Drone to change e-commerce forever?
The word “drone” conjures images of top secret, Government controlled, robot-planes spying on other countries - or at least that’s what's been on topic for the past year or so. In a slightly less sinister but equally weird revelation, Amazon are testing their own drones to act as couriers for a 30 minute delivery service, likely to roll out within a matter of years.
CEO Jeff Bezos spoke out about how Amazon were currently in the development stage of the unmanned drones which would be able to carry and deliver goods ordered via the e-commerce site. Bezos suggested that the drones would be able to deliver to homes within a 10 mile radius (or thereabouts) of a deployment centre, covering a significant number of customers, supposing the centre was close to urban or city areas.
Carry That Weight
“Amazon Prime Air” as it has been dubbed will see small “octocopters” carrying protective cases containing ordered goods flying through the air to land at customers’ front doors before zipping back off to pick up the next delivery. Well, that’s the plan anyway. Using GPS technology, the octocopters would forego the need for human operation. If the drones work as Besoz claims they will, an option will be available at checkout for Amazon Prime Air meaning that customers will have their order within half an hour. Packages up to 5lbs (or 2.3kg) would be able to be carried, which apparently accounts for 86% of all Amazon products.
Amazon Drone is No Joke
This all sounds a little far-fetched, and if we weren’t so far away from April 1st, I’d say this was an elaborate hoax. In fact, they only recently announced Sunday delivery. How Amazon get from delivering your DVDs on Sunday to automatic flying postmen in the space of a few weeks is quite impressive! Nonetheless, they have published a video demonstrating exactly how the service will work:
Pretty futuristic, but perhaps not that far away from making an appearance; Amazon must first comply with rules set by the Federal Aviation Administration which won’t come through until 2015 at the earliest. After which Amazon will be free to produce their drones to the specifications. If the project was to happen, and Bezos is confident it will, consumers outside of the US may have to wait a little longer, and people living outside of built up urban areas even more so.
There is also the issue of safety. Unmanned, flying, metal rotary blades don’t exactly scream “safe”. And just how will the drones be protected from vandalism and theft? (Imaginative ideas warmly received at @unravellingtech). With all this technology and complicated logistical obstacles to work out, you can bet the cost to the consumer will be high. It’s a great idea, but will people be willing to pay more than the price of the product just to have it delivered? Maybe the service is intended for electrical goods such as smartphones and tablets as opposed to a £4.99 CD...
As you’d expect, the Twittersphere has had plenty to say on the Amazon drone. Here are some of our favourite tweets: