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Amazon Reveals "Prime Air", Their Plans For 30-minute Deliveries By Drone 397

Posted by samzenpus
from the amazon-air dept.
Z80xxc! writes "Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed during a CBS 60 Minutes interview that the company is working on a service called 'Prime Air' to deliver packages by autonomous octocopter drones within 30 minutes of hitting the 'buy' button. The plan still requires more testing and FAA approval, but Bezos predicts it'll be available to the public in the next 4-5 years. With a lot of backlash against drones, and some towns even offering bounties to shoot them down, will this technology ever take off, or is this just another one of Amazon's eccentric CEO's fantastical flight ideas?"
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Amazon Reveals "Prime Air", Their Plans For 30-minute Deliveries By Drone

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  • Hmmmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wbr1 (2538558) on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:10AM (#45573559)
    1. This technology
    2.Silk Road 2
    3.?????
    4. PROFIT!
    • Re:Hmmmm (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:15AM (#45573577)

      1. This technology
      2. Drone capable of capturing other drones in flight
      3. Arrrr!

      • by Longjmp (632577)
        Best "profit" reply ever!
      • by luther349 (645380)
        millions of drones hogging the airspace. im sure the faa will happily approve that.
        • by ultranova (717540)

          millions of drones hogging the airspace. im sure the faa will happily approve that.

          All it needs is delivery drones obeying "corridors" assigned by air traffick control, and enforcement drones hunting down those who don't.

          Besides, this could potentially help the airlines: fit the plane with a launch bay and drop the drone when the plane is passing above the customer's house. Afterwards, the drone will automatically find its way to the nearest airport, or better yet, a dronenet-participating logistics center

    • That would be perfect for delivery of anything that weighs about the same as a postage stamp.
  • Crime? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <{ten.3dlrow} {ta} {ojom}> on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:12AM (#45573563) Homepage

    It seems like it would be a lot easier to steal from a drone than it would be to steal from a person delivering a package.

    • Re:Crime? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Vanderhoth (1582661) on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:22AM (#45573617)
      I had the same thought until I realized my wife's Xmas order was left on our front step last week by Canada Post. Normally they just leave a door hanger telling us where and when we can pick up the package.

      The drone would be a neat idea if I could have it drop the package in the backyard instead of out front. 30-60 minutes isn't really a bad amount of time to wait for a delivery, on par with Pizza. The major issue being you'd have to be near a deployment center, I imagine the only Amazon deployment centers in Canada are in Toronto and Ottawa.
      • Re:Crime? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:43AM (#45573725)

        Yeah, I had them leave two new Nexus phones sticking out of the box by the front door. They actually do it all the time, and even left a $1500 laptop sitting there. They, UPS, and others do it all the time. The good part is that I don't know anyone who's ever had something go missing. Yay Canada. I was reading something from someone from eastern Europe who came here about the things he found the most different about this country. Where he was from this was apparently unheard of , as anything left at your door would go missing. I'm guess that in some areas here it would be the same though.

        I think having something dropped off by drone would call a lot of attentiopn to it sa well, as for a devemt amount of time it would be quite the novelty.

        • The good part is that I don't know anyone who's ever had something go missing.

          That is an interesting point. My wife sells Regal products, although I don't think I'd understand why someone would want to steal that junk, in three years we've never had a monthly order stolen. I also have never known anyone who's had something taken from their doorstep.

          • Re:Crime? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by pspahn (1175617) on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:55AM (#45573809)
            UPS once left an order under some shrubs in the front that I didn't notice until several months later and a replacement delivery sent. Ended up doubling the order for free (too bad it was just a pair of nice winter socks, though you can never have too many).
            • I agree, you can never have too many winter socks.
            • I had the same thing happen with a computer mouse. The box sat under the bushes for 2 years, rain, snow, heat of summer, and I found it one day, and the dam thing worked fine!
          • Re:Crime? (Score:5, Funny)

            by nospam007 (722110) * on Monday December 02, 2013 @12:49PM (#45575939)

            "I also have never known anyone who's had something taken from their doorstep."

            Really?
            I just put all my waste and junk in a used paper box with some gift wrapping around at the front door and it disappears within minutes.

        • by Salgak1 (20136)

          Not necessarily "Yay Canada". I live far enough away from a major metropolis that we still leave doors unlocked, and have never had a package disappear. I think it's really more like "Yay Low Population Density". . . .

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        For a lot of people no signature = was never delivered. I think the postal staff get to know whose packages they can put in the kennel safely, and whose need genuine signatures.

        • by cdrudge (68377)

          I think you're overestimating the intelligence and/or the amount of caring of postal workers. I'm including UPS/FedEx employees in with postal workers.

          I've had large and/or heavy enough packages that say "Amazon.com" on the side of them that a reasonable person would expect the contents to be worth something just left on my doorstep.

          I've also had a box with a big Dell logo left on my doorstep. It was just a replacement plastic lid for a laptop that was seriously scratched up during some warranty work. Bu

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        I had the same thought until I realized my wife's Xmas order was left on our front step last week by Canada Post. Normally they just leave a door hanger telling us where and when we can pick up the package.

        Yeah, I had them leave two new Nexus phones sticking out of the box by the front door. They actually do it all the time, and even left a $1500 laptop sitting there. They, UPS, and others do it all the time. The good part is that I don't know anyone who's ever had something go missing. Yay Canada. I was re

    • Re:Crime? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo (59147) on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:24AM (#45573629)

      Or steal the drone....

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by DrXym (126579)
      Even better, you could steal the drone while you were at it.
    • Re:Crime? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by N1AK (864906) on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:35AM (#45573675) Homepage
      There have been documented cases of people following UPS etc vans and collecting the things they drop off on porches. Given that the person delivering the package can't magically get it inside the house unless it fits through the letterbox or I'm there their security isn't exactly amazing. A drone could drop the parcel in my rear garden without me having to leave my gate unlocked; furthermore it wouldn't be hard to have some kind of coded access box for them to use, or on a simpler level just deliver when they know I'm home so I can accept the item.

      I honestly think you'd see a decimation of manual delivery jobs in the UK within less than 2 years of drone style delivery being legalised and viably regulated. It'll be cheaper, faster and offer more convenient delivery times without huge fees; there's basically nothing that manual delivery offers to remotely make up for that.
      • In order for this to be feasible on a large scale, you'd need cost effective drones. Cost effective drones would then be available to those same people already going around stealing packages... only now they can do it with a greater degree of access and anonymity. As the technology matures and becomes more acceptable to society at large, we'll probably see mandatory registration of drones that can fly to X height, have Y range or can carry Z payload with registration numbers required to be painted on them i

        • by TheLink (130905)
          If we're going to have technology to improve delivery what would be good is a special receiving container/room.

          The container will receive packages and help automatically sign for stuff (e.g. generate a digital signature). It will not verify actual receipt of the desired goods anymore than you signing for it means you received desired stuff in good working order. But it would at least verify that something was delivered and prevent it from easily being stolen.
      • We've never had a UPS package stolen, but given the UPS drivers in our area, it's only a matter of time. The drivers, no matter how many times we complain, will put the package outside our front door and walk away. They don't ring the doorbell at all even when it's apparent that people are home. (Cars in the driveway, lights on, sounds coming from inside the house.) Luckily, we tend to track our packages and know approximately when they'll be delivered. Still, we've had packages that seemingly were out

        • by mlts (1038732) *

          Where I live (fairly urban townhome), I have never had a package dropped off at my doorstop survive more than five minutes. If a package is delivered, because of the high traffic of people walking past, said package will be "picked up", likely on its way to a pawn shop as its next destination. It is so bad that any mailbox made out of metal will get stolen for its scrap value, so one ends up using a door slot or a plastic holder.

          I just have packages delivered at a relative or friend's house, the friend li

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Given that the person delivering the package can't magically get it inside the house unless it fits through the letterbox or I'm there their security isn't exactly amazing.

        At least they can hide it though.

        A drone could drop the parcel in my rear garden without me having to leave my gate unlocked

        Where another drone could pick it up again...

        • by N1AK (864906)

          Where another drone could pick it up again...

          No shit sherlock. That would be a problem regardless of whether drones are being used to deliver packages. I'm sure some people would allow little things like, the rest of a post to guide their thinking but it's good to see you don't let that burden you; but for reference, if you had, the bit about drones being 'viably regulated' may have cramped your style a bit.

    • by dingen (958134)

      If I were Amazon I'd mount camera's on the delivery drones and stream the images from them over the internet 24/7. If someone steals or damages the drone, you've got them on video.

    • by JanneM (7445)

      "it would be a lot easier to steal from a drone"

      Steal from a drone?

      First time around, order item (A):

      Next time around order item (B): http://www.amazon.com/Diamond-Strike-Anywhere-Matches-1-Box/dp/B00DII0BA0/ [amazon.com]>

      Crouch in the bushes and use (A) to catch the drone. Then resell it on eBay. Use (B) to burn (A) to get rid of the evidence.

      • by JanneM (7445)

        ..and for whatever reason, Slashdot refuses to show the first link. Just forget it.

    • Re:Crime? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sifi (170630) on Monday December 02, 2013 @10:45AM (#45574635)
      Surely the whole point is you wait until you know you're going to in for 30mins and then order it? It wouldn't have to leave it anywhere then.
    • 1. If a drone is downed, it will report it's last known GPS coords. If it's still online after crashing, it will probably live stream audio/video of what's happening to it.
      2. Allow other drones out for delivery to swarm a downed drone to observe the perpetrators ad hoc until a dedicated incident drone can arrive to observe
      3. Fry the electronics upon being downed so that they can't be stolen.
      4. Initially ship only items that are of low cost, despite being of high value to the consumer. (i.e. hdmi cable, diap

  • I predict... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:12AM (#45573565) Homepage

    This is just a free-publicity stunt, timed for Xmas to get the word "Amazon" on all the news channels.

    • +1 million

      Absolutely what this is.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:12AM (#45573569)

    It's possible Bezos really means it, but my guess is that two things are behind it:

    1. Using the current drone hype to help position Amazon as exciting/technological/futuristic, rather than just a boring logistics company that owns warehouses and brown cardboard boxes. With Google working on self-driving cars, and Elon Musk proposing a hyperloop and working on a reusable rocket, Amazon might want to join the futurology game. Otherwise they risk being seen as a low-margin but very efficient (and high-volume) mass retailer, the online version of Wal-Mart.

    2. Provide some leverage in negotiations with the delivery and courier companies they depend on by threatening to bypass them. Amazon may want at least a halfway credible alternative to companies like UPS/Fedex when negotiating rates, something to hang over their head as "if you piss us off enough, we're really going to do it, we're going to just deliver everything with drones".

    • by alexander_686 (957440) on Monday December 02, 2013 @09:25AM (#45574015)

      I don’t think it is either of those.

      1. Might be right but it does not explain why Bezos is doing it now. Announcing a pie in the sky moon shot is not going to do anything about its perception today. It won’t move stock prices (or, if it does, it will be down) and it won’t change from whom I order today. Yeah, it will have a little halo effect, but not much.

      2. Amazon already has a choice between at least 3 different shippers fighting for their business. That a much more effective that a alternative delivery method which may pop up in 4 years’ time. More likely 10.

      I am going with a moon shot. A high risk, high reward kind of thing. Amazon has the cash to indulge in these types of activities. Plus we know Bezos likes robots. Amazon bought a pick and pack robot company about 2 years ago.

  • Hacker's delight (Score:4, Interesting)

    by greichert (464285) on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:20AM (#45573607)
    How long till people start stealing the drones as they see one landing (by throwing a net on them for instance) and hack the firmware so they have their own drone?
    • by N1AK (864906) on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:37AM (#45573687) Homepage
      Roughly as long as it takes for people to start jacking UPS vans when the driver gets out to put the parcel on the porch... Any drone that is going to have permission to do this is going to have tracking and cameras. Some chumps will shoot them or break them but the risk and reward balance is pretty obviously not going to encourage much of it.
      • by Nerdfest (867930)

        I think throwing people into the mix changes things. People act differenmtly when there are people around, even to the point that apparently a paper silhouette of a person will reduce thefts.

      • Re:Hacker's delight (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Inda (580031) <slash.20.inda@spamgourmet.com> on Monday December 02, 2013 @09:29AM (#45574043) Journal
        The children near me destroy shopping trollies just for the one-pound coin held within the locking mechanism. That coin will buy 2.5 cigarettes.

        They'd love to take a hammer and screwdriver to a drone... and then I'd buy it off them.
        • by Rich0 (548339)

          Holy cow - one pound to lock up a shopping cart? In the US those carts typically require 25 cents.

          Oh, and they usually design them so that they don't contain coins at all when they're parked, probably because at one point in time they had the same issue.

  • Stupid media bait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:21AM (#45573611)

    This story nicely demonstrates how the modern media has no time (or desire) to think on their own.

    This system is completely impractical. Anyone who has any idea on the capabilities of octocopters can immediately see that this idea is DOA.

    - Range is abysmal. If you are not within walking distance of a distribution center, you are not in range of one of these. They could offer 10x better service for those within walking distance of their distribution hub by offering in-situ instant pickup if you are happy to walk to the center.
    - Payload is non-existing - 0.5kg is quite a bit for an octocopter. Lets say they make a bigger "cargo" version and manage to quadruple that. 2kg. Too little for anything useful.
    - Octocopters are good-weather toys. They cannot be flown in heavy winds. "Sorry, no deliveries today, it's too windy". Yeah. Right.
    - The technology just isn't robust enough to be scaled up to meaningful numbers - crashes due to mechanical faults are inevitable, potentially hitting something and as a minimum causing an expensive tech toy wreck for Amazon. Often.

    So this is purely a silly story to get Amazon into headlines right around "Cyber Monday" so buyers would remember that Amazon exists.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      What about delivering new 'copters to people?

      They've been selling quite a few quadcopters lately and this seems an ideal way to get them to people.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by RevWaldo (1186281)
      It's a simple question of weight ratios. A one kilogram octocoptor could not carry a three kilogram PS4.

      .
    • Re:Stupid media bait (Score:4, Informative)

      by N1AK (864906) on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:42AM (#45573719) Homepage
      Just because you're self-opinionated enough to think you know something and yet unimaginative enough to not be able to think of anything weighing 2kg or less worth delivering by drone doesn't mean things don't exist.

      The last 10+ things I have ordered from Amazon or Ebay are all well below 2kg. The majority of things I buy from them are below 2kg: Books, CDs, DVDs, Games, tablet case, address book, aftershave, diary, USB-Micro USB cable, Radiator keys, plug converter etc. It turns out that bricks aren't the only thing you can order from online stores.
    • This method of delivery would be incredibly energy inefficient.
      • I agree. Trebuchet development has been woefully stagnant for the past 500 years and this could be the killer app that'll give it the push it needs!

      • Delivery trucks are massive beasts forced to take circuitous routes to accomplish their purpose.

        These devices do indeed have the burden of being airborne, but on the other hand are much lighter weight (e.g. don't need a lot of safety features, don't have to size capacity to a max load' which might not be as close to average load, and can go direct without worrying about whether there are roads or not).

        I think there are other logistical challenges that have me skeptical, but I could be convinced that overall

        • I suppose there is an argument if you compare single package deliveries. But if you look a normal full truck roll I find it hard to imagine. It takes a lot of work to keep a copter in the air. Rolling is a very energy efficient method of moving objects. Think about what it takes to ride a bike versus what it would take to pedal a copter with you in it.
    • by Drethon (1445051)
      Range isn't an issue. Amazon just has to rent power off of each cell tower in the city, then setup the quad copters to land on the tower for charging. Now the delivery can be handed off between drones, thus increasing the range.

      The cost for this delivery method should only be... outrageous.
    • Re:Stupid media bait (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 02, 2013 @09:13AM (#45573925)

      Anyone who has any idea on the capabilities of octocopters can immediately see that this idea is DOA.

      That list would include you. You have no idea what you are talking about.

      There are regular payload FPV flights currently out to over 3 miles.

      There are heavy lift competitions with multicopters that can lift a human being. 2 kg is nothing even for a small copter.

      Good weather toys? Your comment on this proves you have no experience with multicopters. In fact multicopters handle wind better than any other small craft.

      Octocopters are relatively robust and can still fly with multiple motor losses (although with cargo would be a problem). The technology is rapidly advancing though. I have over 1000 flights on my quadcopter with no maintenance and not a single fault.

      • That list would include you. You have no idea what you are talking about. There are regular payload FPV flights currently out to over 3 miles.

        How is this the GP not knowing what he was talking about. He quite clearly stated walking distance as a requirement. 3 miles is perfectly well within walking distance.

        You could argue that most people won't walk 3 miles, but it kind of cuts both ways. The only places that a 3 mile range is going to be worth targeting is a high density city where the system could delive

        • by Rich0 (548339)

          Good job bad weather only means "wind" instead of you know: rain. And wind substantially lowers the range.

          The weather resistance depends on how beefy the thing is - if you're flying below freezing through precipitation or clouds/mist then ice becomes a big problem too.

          I don't think that wind should affect range much, unless these things rely on being able to refuel before the return leg (which seems unlikely). A head/tailwind would not affect range at all since it would benefit the aircraft as much as it costs it. A crosswind would reduce range, but if you had your warehouses arranged suitably you might be ab

      • Re:Stupid media bait (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Junta (36770) on Monday December 02, 2013 @10:00AM (#45574217)

        There are regular payload FPV flights currently out to over 3 miles.

        I assume you meant 30 miles (and the record is currently just shy of 35 miles), 3 miles would be rather sad. That is 30 miles being in the ballpark of record setting RC FPV without payload.

        Amazon is suggesting a 10 mile range for their design currently.

        now to take the amazon of today and make a technology with a 10 mile range anything more than a 'gee-whiz' factor for urban areas would require a pretty dramatic change. When people think warehouse-level stock with insane coverage, they think 'wal-mart'. The nearest walmart to my parents house is 18 miles as the crow flies. One source claimed the average distance to a wal-mart from average house in US was 30 miles (which I think is a bit far but couldn't find quality data in short notice). Amazon would need a real-estate footprint on the order of 9 times as much as wal-mart to cover the market. Even assuming Amazon only has ambitions to service urban areas, they are still looking at a footprint roughly on the order of wal-mart. Amazon has been eating into brick and mortar in no small part due to having so low a footprint, not having to stock everything everywhere, and so on and so fourth. If Amazon gets some regulatory precedents set for this to happen, Wal-Mart can swoop in and implement it in pretty short order.

    • So what you're saying is, it's a total flight of fancy.

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      Range is abysmal.

      They seem to claim 10 miles. I'm not sure how they will manage this, but maybe they are counting on continued improvements in battery technology.

      Payload is non-existing

      They claim the vast majority of their orders are under 5 lbs. (2.25 kg), and that this can haul that much payload.

      Octocopters are good-weather toys

      They don't address this at all, and it is a very good point.

      crashes due to mechanical faults are inevitable

      This is true of standard delivery vehicles as well. However, these don't weigh several tons so who knows? They might even be safer and cheaper to insure.

      I expect this service would also be pret

    • by u38cg (607297) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Monday December 02, 2013 @09:42AM (#45574111) Homepage
      So drive a truck full of octocopters to an area, send them off, ten minutes later they're all back. And something like 80% of deliveries are 2kg. As for wind, obviously it's only useful in suitable climates. But I suspect you're overestimating the amount of wind you get in many majro urban areas.
    • Re:Stupid media bait (Score:5, Informative)

      by rolfwind (528248) on Monday December 02, 2013 @09:59AM (#45574209)

      Bezos said in the new 60 minutes, it will handle payloads of 5lbs, enough for 86% of it's sold merchandise.

      Second, this system could be used in China sooner than here, and being tested by a large package delivery:
      http://qz.com/120654/china-could-become-the-first-country-to-legalize-parcel-delivery-by-drone/ [qz.com]

      The technology just isn't robust enough to be scaled up to meaningful numbers - crashes due to mechanical faults are inevitable

      The thing has 8 rotors. It needs 4 maybe to fly with stability. It has redundancy out the ass.

      Octocopters are good-weather toys. They cannot be flown in heavy winds. "Sorry, no deliveries today, it's too windy". Yeah. Right.

      Well, I'm sure amazon will have a zip code system and weather tie-in to mark the where and when availability that shows are hides the "Delivery by Air" button. Since this will be purely a convenience feature with a corresponding fee, it's not a business breaker.

      But for me, this type of system would make much more sense in fastfood delivery systems.

      Who wouldn't pay a buck or two to have it delivered at the location marked by smart phone GPS, instead of fighting traffic and using up gas/time?

  • by keysdisease (1093663) on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:22AM (#45573613)
    The NY Times, WashPost, BBC, Deutche Welle, Straits Times, South China Morning Post, Sydney Morning Herald and I'm only 1/2 was thru my RSS feeds. Now Starbucks, flying my morning latte through my kitchen window, that would be news!
  • Most things on the drone will be spendy, and well packaged. Shoot them down, pawn the goods, rinse, repeat.

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Most things on the drone will be spendy, and well packaged. Shoot them down, pawn the goods, rinse, repeat.

      Why not just shoot the driver of a UPS truck and drive off with it while you're at it? Oh yeah, the police don't care too much for people shooting at other people or their property...

      • Police are going to focus real resources on someone committing theft, murder and obstruction of traffic.

        Drone heists? Not so much.

  • by P-niiice (1703362) on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:23AM (#45573623)
    Anything that's going to be "available within 4-5 years" is pretty much bullshit. A real plan would have a real date.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, "5-year plans" are never serious...

    • by tgd (2822)

      Anything that's going to be "available within 4-5 years" is pretty much bullshit. A real plan would have a real date.

      The real date isn't based on technology, its based on FAA licensing.

      A real date would prove they didn't know what they were doing.

  • Suggestion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:25AM (#45573633) Homepage

    Mount a camera on the drone and let me watch my package flying over the landscape via the "Track my package" option.

  • by Errol backfiring (1280012) on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:26AM (#45573635) Journal

    Next up: package delivered by drone will sound a siren if not opened immediately.

    Personally, I would like to go back to the good old days when we used owls for that.

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:32AM (#45573659)
    will be this [amazon.com].
  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:40AM (#45573709)
    Investors continue to give Bezos the benefit of the doubt, allowing him to reinvest Amazon's entire cash flow into the company with the expectation that "some day" Amazon will be able to flip an investment switch and suddenly become immensely profitable. Perhaps. But it seems to me Bezos just doesn't care about money and is using Amazon's money as his personal playpen.
    • Analysts have pointed out that the way Amazon is investing, it is clear that it intends to use it's current advantage in online retail to build a distribution network that is sufficiently advanced that any competitors will have to spend huge amounts of time/money to catch up. It's a long tail gambit.

      Imagine in twenty years being able to look at your infrastructure and be confident that no-one on the planet has anything on the same scale (except perhaps the US military). Then you can start churning a pro
  • I could see the potential benefit of using drones to facilitate express delivery of packages between depots or designated collection points. I don't see how they are practical for delivering all the way to some random recipient. At the very least someone would have to geotag a landing spot which was free from wires and other hazards - would they trust the customer to do that or would they need someone to come out? Aside from that I'm sure there are severe limits on the size and weight of the things it can d
  • I just ordered a 30$ USB drive and hey! free 3000$ drone!
  • Memories [techdirt.com]. Still pretty cool, even if the public hasn't clamored for it. :-)

  • If the story has been run on 60 Minutes, it's hardly "News for Nerds" any more. After it has already been disseminated to the general public through, why would it be newsworthy here? And yes, I know that not everybody is in the US, nor did they see 60 Minutes last night, but really, if CBS already ran this story, why is /. ?

  • In Skeet/Trap shooting skills. Instead of clay pigeons it'll be Amazon drones.

  • 1.) What types of weather will these deliveries fly in?
    2.) Will Amazon be trying to hire away remote pilots from the US Air Force, or will the US Air Force be recruiting from Amazon?
    3.) You thought overnight shipping was expensive.......

    Things to think about.

  • by lionchild (581331) on Monday December 02, 2013 @09:10AM (#45573897) Journal

    If private organizations can't use drones to help with natural disasters, such as those in Colorado, how do you suppose this will get approved to fly near local airports and various cities and towns won't outlaw the flying of drones?

    Of course, there's always the question: How do you deliver to high-rise apartments and other high-density dwellings?

  • "4-5 Years" (Score:5, Informative)

    by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Monday December 02, 2013 @09:13AM (#45573921)
    For the uninitiated, that's marketingese for "we have no fucking clue."
  • by cjjjer (530715) <cjjjer&hotmail,com> on Monday December 02, 2013 @09:34AM (#45574069)
    From what I have read the drones can only deliver anywhere within a 10 mile radius of a fulfillment center. I am not anywhere near a fulfillment center so I am not sure how practical these would be. Unless they plan on building thousands of these centers all over the US.
  • These things would be just the job for that in some parts of the US given the number of holes you see in road signs.
    A few 12bore blasts and they would be landfill.

    with the millions of guns available and people not wanting Big Bro spying on them these will soon bite the dust in more ways than one.

     

  • I'm holding out for the Trebuchet delivery option.

  • by Daetrin (576516) on Monday December 02, 2013 @10:39AM (#45574563)
    Yet another thing, along with self-driving cars, Google Books, and Google Glass, that Vernor Vinge's 2006 novel seems to be on track for.

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