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Amazon Seeks US Exemption To Test Delivery Drones 155

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-thought-asking-forgiveness-was-better dept.
angry tapir writes: Amazon.com has asked the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for permission to test drones outdoors for use in its Prime Air package delivery service. In the run up to launching the service, which aims to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less, the online retailer is developing aerial vehicles that travel over 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour, and will carry 5pound (2.3 kilogram) payloads, which account for 86 percent of the products sold on Amazon. They need to ask permission because the FAA specifically banned such behavior last month.
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Amazon Seeks US Exemption To Test Delivery Drones

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  • Why in America? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gurps_npc (621217) on Friday July 11, 2014 @11:45AM (#47431679) Homepage
    Can't they just do the testing in Canada? Or some other country that hasn't created this law?

    Seems like they are more interested in getting a foot in the door to revoke the rule, rather than testing.

    • Re:Why in America? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2014 @12:12PM (#47431877)

      Seems like they are more interested in getting a foot in the door to revoke the rule, rather than testing.

      That's actually what's going on. What amazon (and google and facebook) truely want is regulations that make it hard for competition in this market segment. They've been playing a chess game for quite a while on this. All of the FUD articles about drones crashing into stuff is actually carefully chosen cases publicized to turn the public against "unregulated" drones, therefore requiring regulations to be written, and guess which three companies have been clamoring to congress that they have the expertise to help craft such regulations? Surely they'll have no problem complying with their own regulations, meanwhile any small business that tries to start up, or complains about the regulations, amazon can then say "they need to follow the regulations, their drones aren't safe, ours are", and use the sheeple to crush any startups.

      • This has been the favored business model of big players in this country since before the railroads. From what I can gather, it began with the canals. Monied interests get in bed with politicians and use the law to squeeze out everyone else. I think you're absolutely right. And none of us should be surprised when Amazon, whose web services host a number of government departments, and whose CEO owns one of the two major newspapers in the country, is granted an "exception."

        This is how the crooked game is playe

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        That's actually what's going on.

        I doubt that very much. This bears repeating, for about the fifth time recently here on Slashdot:

        A Federal NTSB judge has ruled that Congress did not give the FAA authority over small low-altitude drones, commercial or otherwise. The Federal law explicitly gives the FAA authority over "aircraft" in "navigable airways", which are by definition routes used by planes that carry people. These are usually high-altitude except for areas near airports and heliports. Further, "aircraft" (because of the "craft" p

        • Your definition of "clearly" is very different than most people's I think... Sure, if you separate the word Aircraft in to "Air" and "Craft" you might be able to argue that one of the words could mean a manned vehicle. But when taken as a single word "Aircraft" has nothing to do with being manned or not. Every definition I can find is basically "A vehicle capable of atmospheric flight due to interaction with the air, such as buoyancy or lift."

          Your argument really feels like the kind of games sovereign ci

          • Sure, if you separate the word Aircraft in to "Air" and "Craft" you might be able to argue that one of the words could mean a manned vehicle.

            It isn't my idea. It was the judge's reasoning about the intent of Congress when they wrote the law. Which is, in fact, pretty clear.

            Even if you discount his reasoning about what Congress meant by "aircraft", the word "navigable" is not ambiguous at all: in this context it means passages that can be navigated by person-carrying vehicles.

          • Re:Why in America? (Score:5, Informative)

            by Obfuscant (592200) on Friday July 11, 2014 @02:16PM (#47432937)

            Your definition of "clearly" is very different than most people's I think...

            It also differs considerably from what is found in federal law. 14CFR1 [ecfr.gov]:

            1.1 General definitions. Aircraft means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air.

            That says nothing about carrying people. The difference between airCRAFT and airPLANE is also clear, same section:

            Airplane means an engine-driven fixed-wing aircraft heavier than air, that is supported in flight by the dynamic reaction of the air against its wings.

            The airPLANE is a fixed-wing heavier than air airCRAFT. That means that airCRAFT includes hot air balloon, gliders, and yes, drones. And even the definition of airplane does not include a requirement that people be aboard.

            But wait, quadcopters aren't fixed-wing, so are they covered?

            Helicopter means a rotorcraft that, for its horizontal motion, depends principally on its engine-driven rotors.

            So drones are helicopters, unless they're the fixed wing version. And gosh if the FAA doesn't have the authority to regulate flight of helicopters.

            Now what about this "high altitude" limit on the authority of the FAA? Sorry. That's just nonsense. There is well-established case law that the FAA can (and does) regulate the use of aircraft down to the surface. 14CFR91 [ecfr.gov] is the federal law covering general operating and flight regulations, and is applicable as follows:

            91.1 Applicability. (a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section and ÂÂ91.701 and 91.703, this part prescribes rules governing the operation of aircraft (other than moored balloons, kites, unmanned rockets, and unmanned free balloons, which are governed by part 101 of this chapter, and ultralight vehicles operated in accordance with part 103 of this chapter) within the United States, including the waters within 3 nautical miles of the U.S. coast.

            Notice that "aircraft" clearly includes kites and even moored balloons, because these had to be specifically exempted from coverage by this part that covers "aircraft".

            And 14CFR91 contains rules that apply to aircraft all the way to the surface of the earth. For example, Class B, C, and D [faa.gov] airspace extends from the surface up to the specified altitude (it differs), and the "Mode C Veil" extends from the surface up to 10,000 MSL for a distance of 30 miles from the applicable airport. Thirty miles. And 14CFR91.131 [ecfr.gov] clearly says:

            91.131 Operations in Class B airspace. (a) Operating rules. No person may operate an aircraft within a Class B airspace area except in compliance with Â91.129 and the following rules:

            That kinds makes it clear that the FAA has authority to regulate aircraft from the surface. That cite is just one example of many.

            There is no "high altitude" limitation to the rules, and the only reference to "high altitude" that I know of deals with a class of VOR [faa.gov] that has a "Standard High Altitude Service Volume". The only thing that "high altitude" might refer to is as a lay description of Class A airspace, which runs from 18,000 feet MSL up to flight level 600 (about 60,000 feet MSL). Note that there are also Class B, C, D, E, and G airspaces which the FAA regulates, so there is a lot of precedent f

            • Tell it to the judge. I repeat: this was his decision, not mine. And he very clearly disagreed with you.

              Regardless of what the REGULATIONS say, the judge's ruling -- in part for reasons I gave above -- was that it was not Congress' intent to give FAA authority over non-navigable airspace, in the actual law that was passed.

              Regulation and Congressional law are different things. And what rules the law is the intent of those who passed it.

              Those are the rules. I didn't make them up.
            • I should add:

              You might not have realized it, but you are pointing out exactly the issue that is raised here: the difference between current regulations, and the laws that authorized them.

              My point was that the judge's decision says Congress did not intend to give FAA the authority to make all of those regulations. Some of them exceed FAA's authority. Obviously they did it anyway, but that was the whole point.

              You are showing us the regulations in question, and trying to use them as proof of themselve
            • by Zenin (266666)

              And you would be completely correct....except for SEC. 336. SPECIAL RULE FOR MODEL AIRCRAFT, which effectively exempts the FAA from almost any authority over anything that could legitimately be called a model aircraft used in a legitimate way. Effectively it puts the AMA in charge of regulating model aircraft, just as the organization has done with astounding success and safety for the better part of a century.

              • by Obfuscant (592200)

                And you would be completely correct....except for SEC. 336. SPECIAL RULE FOR MODEL AIRCRAFT, which effectively exempts the FAA from almost any authority over anything that could legitimately be called a model aircraft used in a legitimate way.

                The last part is your opinion, but the actual rule doesn't put it that way. For example:

                (4) the aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft;

                Making a 180 and flying above a manned helicopter is interference with that helicopter, and is certainly not giving way to them. Further, the definition of "model aircraft" requires that it be:

                (2) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft

                Two miles away is not "visual line of sight" of

                • If we are telling about the same incident involving a NYPD helicopter as I think we are, I believe the NYPD is being asked some serious questions over their involvement, seems to me both sides were likely breaking the law. I believe all the regulations state that one should not endanger other air traffic, which means both sides should give way, similar rules exist for boats where all craft must do what they can to avoid an incident.

                  As for the Phantom 2 flying near airfeilds, it carries onboard a database of

                  • by Obfuscant (592200)

                    I believe all the regulations state that one should not endanger other air traffic, which means both sides should give way,

                    The rule in the US is that the unmanned "model aircraft", if being flown under the exemption, must give way to manned aircraft.

                    This is actually an issue I'm the UK were you can get a commercial licence to operate unmanned aircraft and it's registered to a specific aircraft with proficiency test on operation of that aircraft being done at an airfield.

                    Could you imagine the uproar in the US if people were told they needed to take a test to be able to fly their toys?

                • The last part is your opinion, but the actual rule doesn't put it that way. For example:

                  And all of this is completely irrelevant to the point I originally made, which is that the regulations you cite don't make a damned bit of difference if Congress didn't give regulatory agencies the authority to make them. That was the whole issue here. It wasn't about what the regulations say. It was about whether FAA (and others, if applicable) have any authority to make them at all about anything other than person-carrying vehicles in the navigable airways. (That was the way the judge put it, more or less

    • If I had to guess, it's because Amazon doesn't want to have Canada pass a law or regulation banning commercial drone use the same way the FAA did. If they were to go to Canada, the media there would likely report that they're doing it to skirt US regulations, and that could cause all kinds of bad PR for Amazon. The attention would also likely cause lawmakers in Canada to consider a similar ban, pointing at the FAA ban as precedent.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Because the guy doing the building and designing is in the US? He can't really move, his wife runs a local charity/research center. He's a nice gentleman, and his prototypes have been working very well, he also has a drone reservation already, which has no air traffic through it.

    • I cannot help but wonder the outcome when a drone flys through an area where cell phones are blocked.
  • Ballsy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dins (2538550) on Friday July 11, 2014 @11:46AM (#47431687)
    Well that's pretty ballsy. "Yeah, we know you banned this with us in mind, but....can we do it anyway?"
    • Ballsy (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      More like 'Yeah, we knew you were going to try this, and we're gonna block it until we get our bribe"

    • by Immerman (2627577)

      You're assuming the reasoning wasn't "We know you banned this with us in mind - so here's the bribes you were counting on us paying so we can do it anyway"

    • by OhPlz (168413)

      Ballsy is banning it without any intent to develop regulations or to even consider if regulations are necessary.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        Ballsy is banning it without any intent to develop regulations or to even consider if regulations are necessary.

        So the FAA has no intent of developing regulations or considering their need, but they have created a UAS study program [faa.gov] including six regional test sites. Interesting.

        • by OhPlz (168413)

          So the FAA has no intent of developing regulations or considering their need, but they have created a UAS study program [faa.gov] including six regional test sites. Interesting.

          If you've followed the various stories here regarding drones you'd see that the feds have been dragging their feet for a long time. The federal courts have even contradicted the FAA on occasion, stating that they can't do a blanket ban on all uses of drones based on the simple fact that the FAA regulates US airspace. I remember that one clearly because the courts stated that the FAA would have to regulate paper airplanes, by that definition of their areas of responsibility.

          I'm pushing it a bit saying they

        • by russotto (537200)

          So the FAA has no intent of developing regulations or considering their need, but they have created a UAS study program including six regional test sites. Interesting.

          Seriously? That's one of the classic bureaucratic ways to block something, to form a program to "study" it.

  • Shrug. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jaseuk (217780) on Friday July 11, 2014 @11:48AM (#47431703) Homepage

    Maybe Amazon should work with Google to build a locker on wheels using the self-driving car chassis. That seems a far more useful and practical long-term solution.

    Jason.

    • by Guspaz (556486)

      Cars have to deal with traffic. Amazon already has same-day delivery by road in some cities, but not in 30 minutes.

      • Drones had better learn to deal with traffic, too.

        • by Zenin (266666)

          Sure, but it's a much, much easier problem to solve.

          For starters, flying is analogous to driving only if every road had 1,000 lanes and there were such 1,000 road lanes leading directly in any direction from any point.

          Or in other words, it's not at all analogous to "traffic" as folks typically think of it. A GPS module, a few cheap sonic sensors and/or slightly more expensive transponders, with basic collision avoidance software would easily solve the problem entirely. All of which I must add, are already

  • won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) on Friday July 11, 2014 @11:56AM (#47431755)
    With the amount of gun owners in this country AND the number of paranoid, conspiracy nuts here; how many of those drones will make it to their destinations?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeeehaaaww skeet shooting with prizes!!!!!!

    • Re:won't work (Score:4, Interesting)

      by paysonwelch (2505012) on Friday July 11, 2014 @12:15PM (#47431903) Homepage
      They are most likely asking permission from the FAA to fly the drones at altitudes of around 1,000+ ft (not sure about the actual regulations) but this would be high enough that you would have to be a really good shot AND have a long range rifle. The thing is that most people aren't good shots let alone at that distance and compounding the fact that it's going to be a moving target at 50MPH.
      • Good point, and that would work. I assume drone-deliveries would not be door-to-door.
      • by mark_reh (2015546)

        I think Amazon's drones are going to stay close to the ground. Limited battery capacity means flights have to be short, especially carrying 5lb payloads. It seems more likely that a truck will pull into a neighborhood, open the doors and release a bunch of drones to drop packages for that neighborhood. They will then return to the truck and be driven to the next neighborhood where the process will be repeated.

        Unless they come up with nuclear power, that's going to be the limit of their use.

        The problem is

        • I think it would be the inverse. A rather sizable drone delivers to a local distribution point like a pizza place (who are already set up for local delivery). The last few miles are done by auto the conventional way. The Amazon warehouse near a given city has a fleet of drones, who can bypass local traffic. They could be larger and faster due to aerodynamics, and more able to carry navigation and collision avoidance equipment. One drone could even fly a route, with multiple drop off points.

          If you coord

    • That's what the tazer equiped military style escorts that takes out anything taking a bead on the drone are for.

  • I'm having a hard time visualizing how this is going to work..

    Will I see these things flying over my neighborhood at 300 feet and then drop down to my front door?
    Will the package be left on the lawn?
    If they have 20 deliveries to my 600 home neighborhood, will they send 20 drones or send a few drones multiple times?
    What is the range of these drones?
    Will they send a text or call and essentially say, "come and get it?"
    Wind? Rain? Construction (cranes, concrete pumpers, other tall equipment. Trees?
    Automated or

    • by PPH (736903)

      If they have 20 deliveries to my 600 home neighborhood, will they send 20 drones or send a few drones multiple times?

      Submunitions [wikipedia.org]

    • I think that is what needs to be worked out by testing.

      While the FAA is probably not going to allow any of this, 300' would be too high as helicopters can be in that zone.

      If the FAA were to approve it (which they wont), it would have to be at a low height like 50' or less, limited weight, lots of safety features, human observation, not allowed in winds and probably a ton of things I have not thought of.

      One could make a foam covered, enclosed fan drone that could do the job that would do little (but not zero

    • Re:Visualing this? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sockatume (732728) on Friday July 11, 2014 @12:07PM (#47431829)

      Given the accuracy of GPS, it'll probably wind up on your roof, up a tree, or down the chimney, which means it'll still be an improvement over Yodel.*

      *Substitute infamously incompetent carrier for your region here.

      I kid, but seriously, a mail order that's installing lockers and authorised delivery points every few hundred yards and seriously talking about flying fucking robots as an improvement in service is a damning indictment of the package delivery business.

      • by SeaFox (739806)

        Given the accuracy of GPS, it'll probably wind up on your roof, up a tree, or down the chimney...

        Kids! Santa's outsourcing!

        • Now that would be an interesting novelty. A sleigh and reindeer shaped drone.
          "Hey kids look that's Santa flying over there."

    • He's my vision, though I haven't been able to get Amazon to think about it..

      Truck drives down neighborhood road slowly. Drones enter and leave the back of the truck as it drives delivering packages to houses within a 500 feet distance.

      Truck can skip every other road or so.

    • Re:Visualing this? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SenatorPerry (46227) on Friday July 11, 2014 @12:44PM (#47432195)
      You are making this too complicated.

      They drive a truck with a wireless mast and a flat bed to your neighborhood. It will simply deliver all the packages one at a time based on GPS to your home. The driver of the truck will monitor and manually adjust as needed. A single person will have a 20-30 second job and then wait for the drone to buzz when the next package is at a home. With a good range on the truck you can cover several miles with one person without the need for utilizing a delivery service. A single person may also be able to handle 4-6 drones at once. They hover until the driver is able to deliver the package to the door.

      Once delivered they will do the normal confirmation email. Regarding cranes and other items, it is required to register and have a beacon light on masts of a certain height. It will just need to be entered as a no-fly zone or a minimum elevation zone. Regardless, the drones don't just go from A-B. They can sense nearby objects. If one happens to be taken out, the driver just drives to the location to retrieve it. Maybe has a ladder... Nothing really complicated.
    • I imagine they would have designated pick-up and drop-off facilities. Otherwise, someone is more likely to shoot them down during assent/descent.
  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Friday July 11, 2014 @11:59AM (#47431769) Homepage

    They need to ask permission because the FAA specifically banned such behavior last month.

    Gone are the days, when pursuit of happiness was understood as a natural right granted to each human being not by their government, but by the Creator.

    Today one must get a permission to drive a car, carry a weapon, perform in costume [nymag.com], or, indeed, to fly a drone.

    And this prohibition does not even come from Congress directly — having usurped so much control over our lives over the last century, they are simply unable to deal with the minutiae and are forced to delegate more and more of the rule-making to the Executive-run agencies — such as the FAA.

    • by RobinH (124750) on Friday July 11, 2014 @12:10PM (#47431845) Homepage
      I thought the idea was that you had that right, but only up to the point where it infringes on someone else's right to the same. So, for instance, you being an idiot and driving your car over a pedestrian infringes on their right to the pursuit of happiness. You see, when it comes to behaviors that put others at significant risk, why only punish the ones who were unlucky enough to have the negative outcome actually happen, when the act of performing the risky behavior was what you had control over, and what you should be prevented from doing in the first place? Similarly, Amazon flying drones over residential neighborhoods sounds pretty risky to me, even though I do appreciate the coolness of being able to have something delivered in 30 minutes. Therefore I'm not sure this ban is such a bad thing until we can prove suitable precautions are being taken.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Therefore I'm not sure this ban is such a bad thing until we can prove suitable precautions are being taken.

        Define suitable. I deem it suitble that you are restrained and never write anything online ever again because my feelings could be irreparably damaged. No amount of safety features in the car prevents the fool from running you over, and once you're dead you can never get back your freedom. What right have you to restrict others from enjoying their freedom to kill? If you don't want to be killed, don't go outside, and employ suitable protection in the form of a hiered guard or firearm.

        The truth is that t

      • by mi (197448)

        you being an idiot and driving your car over a pedestrian infringes on their right to the pursuit of happiness

        Sure. And any such idiots ought to be punished — and have their right to drive a car suspended. But this has nothing to do with the preventive prohibition — which is what the license requirement amounts to.

        You see, when it comes to behaviors that put others at significant risk

        Risky driving — or drone-flying — can be prohibited. People engaging in it may lose their right to dr

        • by RobinH (124750)

          That, right there, is the key to our disagreement. You want everybody, who wish to fly a drone, to prove, they've "taken precautions".

          I don't think this is as black and white as you seem to indicate. Nobody's stopping me from building a drone in my garage and even flying it out in a field, as long as I follow some reasonable restrictions that were setup based on experience with model airplanes. The restrictions are on commercial use, and the FAA is basically saying: these things are dangerous when you

        • by Deadstick (535032)

          It does, huh? You don't mind the thousands-pounds piloted aircraft flying above your all day, you don't mind the trucks driving around all day (delivering the same stuff), it is the light drones, that keep you awake at night?

          The airplanes flying overhead don't land in my neighborhood.

          The UPS trucks park in my neighborhood according to well-tested and well-enforced procedures, just as I do.

          A drone big enough to deliver, say, a laptop on my driveway is big enough to kill my dog or the neighbor's kid. Until I know that little detail has been taken care of, you're damn right I have the right to impose such a requirement. Whine about the freedom of the open range all you like; we've come too far to go back to writing our rules i

    • Gone are the days, when pursuit of happiness was understood as a natural right granted to each human being not by their government, but by the Creator.

      Which days were those?

      • by jpellino (202698)
        "Which days were those?" Judging from his sig, probably any days between 7/21/1788 and 1/20/2009...
    • They need to ask permission because the FAA specifically banned such behavior last month.

      Gone are the days, when pursuit of happiness was understood as a natural right granted to each human being not by their government, but by the Creator.

      And if my pursuit of happiness involves not having some noisy-ass quadcopter fly 50 feet over my house every time the neighbor orders a new bauble?

      You forget, that whole "pursuit of happiness" meme has to be reconciled with the concept of, "unless it infringes other's right to the same."

    • You still can do pretty much any of those things on your own land, just as you could in the 1800s. You can build your own gun, drive an unregistered car, and perform practically any work for your own personal enjoyment.

      What part of liberty allow you to do anything you damned well please on *somebody else's* property? Cause if you think you can fire a gun or perform Shakespeare or ride your 4 wheeler in my back yard then FUCK YOU! Because that's the American way.

    • While I agree with the spirit of your post in many ways, this is different as it involves airspace. If you own property, you have certain rights to the air over it. When flying things were an obvious link to the future it became necessary to think about the world in a new way. It wouldn't be practical for flying things to obtain rights of passage from every property owner. Similarly, the rights of property owners to the sanctity of their airspace had to be considered. Someone had to think about how to gove

    • by penix1 (722987)

      OK... Let's just burst your anti-government bubble there..

      They need to ask permission because the FAA specifically banned such behavior last month.

      Gone are the days, when pursuit of happiness was understood as a natural right granted to each human being not by their government, but by the Creator.

      To start with, you are confusing your documents. The quote you give is from the Declaration of Independence not the Constitution which is the document establishing our government. Next, you assume that there is a

      • by TC Wilcox (954812)

        And finally, may I make a suggestion? If you really, really want less government, then move to Somalia. I am sure they will welcome you with open arms (pun intended).

        Somalia once had a strong (and oppressive) central government. It collapsed. Somalia is an example of what happens when strong, oppressive central governments collapse. Telling people who want less government to go to a Somalia may seem pithy, but it really just shows ignorance of history.

        • by retchdog (1319261)

          Yeah, as opposed to all those functional anarchies in the world.

          Go work on seasteading or the NH Free State Project; make it work and give us positive examples if you don't like Somalia.

      • Besides, this is State government not Federal requiring the license.

        Congress forces the states to incorporate certain uniform provisions in traffic laws, such as a drinking age of 21. It does this by bribing the states with "highway funds" taken from citizens of other states under authority granted through the postal and commerce clauses.

        Perform in costume: That is a city ordinance. Again, not fed and not even State. I am sure NYC has a reason for that ordinance, take it up with them.

        In the case of dressing up as an identifiable character from a non-free work of fiction, it could be a Lanham Act violation or copyright violation, which is federal. But otherwise, such an ordinance amounts to a dress code for appearing on

    • by PvtVoid (1252388)

      They need to ask permission because the FAA specifically banned such behavior last month.

      Gone are the days, when pursuit of happiness was understood as a natural right granted to each human being not by their government, but by the Creator.

      Mod parent up. We all know that God specifically wanted airspace full of unlicensed pilots operating entirely without rules. Yeee Haw!

    • by GPS Pilot (3683)

      Gone are the days, when pursuit of happiness was understood as a natural right granted to each human being not by their government, but by the Creator.

      Everyone understands that this is a fundamental tenet of the founding documents of the United States, but that doesn't prevent it from being quietly ignored by those who, say, disparage the Constitution as "a charter of negative liberties." [usnews.com]

    • by Deadstick (535032)

      Gone are the days, when pursuit of happiness was understood as a natural right granted to each human being not by their government, but by the Creator.

      Yes, very long gone. They died when we gave up on hunter-gathering, settled into fixed dwellings, and the first genius figured out that the soup would taste better if the privy were downstream.

  • Promo stunt (Score:4, Insightful)

    by djupedal (584558) on Friday July 11, 2014 @12:00PM (#47431775)
    Amazon is just looking to get in on yet another news cycle. Maybe charlie rose is ready to fawn all over them again...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'll take cute girls on Roller Skates or Cute Witches on Brooms....

  • Jeff Bezos was quoted as saying "C'moooooooooooooooooon!", and promising lawmakers that he would "totally let them have a go driving it" after he did some "sweet loops".

  • In the run up to launching the service, which aims to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less, the online retailer is developing aerial vehicles that travel over 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour, and will carry 5pound (2.3 kilogram) payloads...

    30 minutes at 50 mph = 25 miles out from the warehouse and a one hour round-trip.

    It's difficult to see the market for this service as anything other than single family residence, upper class suburban.

    25 miles out from the Amazon regional "distribution center" seems just about right --- and at ten runs a day per drone, you are shipping a bare 50 pounds of cargo a day per drone.

    Weather permitting.

    How do you make this pay?

    • by Khashishi (775369)

      It's a marketing ploy, not a logistical development.

    • How do you make this pay?

      The customer pays. You can have it free in two days, tomorrow for $5, or in 2 hours for $30.

      That's $300 per drone per day, plus the reduction in paying FexEx to do it.

      I think there are enough people that would pay $30 for something NOW.

    • by ScentCone (795499)

      It's difficult to see the market for this service as anything other than single family residence, upper class suburban.

      Or to the rooftop mail room chute in a large office building that might contain hundreds of Amazon business customers. If you're picturing suburban doorstep delivery to un-prepared recipients, you're imagining the wrong scenario.

  • Amazon.com patents "A method to petition Federal agencies for permission to test drones outdoors for use in a campaign to further hype the company and erect barriers to competitive drone-delivery buzz."
  • Meet Chuck, a drone mechanic and a DARN good one.

  • I was going to do the same thing.

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