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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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  • Crime? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <> on Monday December 02, 2013 @09:12AM (#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.

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

    by Joce640k (829181) on Monday December 02, 2013 @09:12AM (#45573565) Homepage

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

  • Stupid media bait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 02, 2013 @09:21AM (#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.

  • Re:Crime? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ceoyoyo (59147) on Monday December 02, 2013 @09:24AM (#45573629)

    Or steal the drone....

  • by N1AK (864906) on Monday December 02, 2013 @09:37AM (#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 cjjjer (530715) <> on Monday December 02, 2013 @10:34AM (#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.
  • by u38cg (607297) <> on Monday December 02, 2013 @10:42AM (#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.
  • by Daetrin (576516) on Monday December 02, 2013 @11:39AM (#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.
  • Re:Crime? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sifi (170630) on Monday December 02, 2013 @11:45AM (#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.
  • Re:Crime? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ottothecow (600101) <ottothecow@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday December 02, 2013 @04:10PM (#45577391) Homepage
    I don't understand all of the people talking about theft. Isn't the point of this that the drones are available to deliver something you want right away, directly to you?

    The drones are about as fast as a you routinely order a pizza and then leave the house to return hours later and wonder why your pizza is cold? No, this is for when you order something and want it immediately (otherwise you would be ok with a normal package). You place your order, they pack it, and the drone flies it over. You walk outside, say "Hey Drone!", grab the box, and walk back inside. I don't see why you would bother using the drone to deliver if you aren't going to be home for the next 5 hours...

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