The talk of the town over the past day or so has been Amazon drones. ICYMI, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos appeared on 60 Minutes Sunday evening and promptly became a trending topic when he announced that the company is working on a new delivery system that will send packages via drone. Yes, drones. Little plane-type gizmos (octocopters, actually) with propellers that will carry packages weighing up to five pounds from an Amazon distribution center to a home within a 10-mile radius. The goal is to deliver packages within 30 minutes.
“The hard part here is putting in all the redundancy. All the reliability to say this can’t land on somebody’s head,” Bezos said. Umm, yeah. That would be a problem.
The whole thing seems over-the-top because when we think of drones, we typically think of the planes that swoop in and fire missiles. But Bezos assured viewers that it’s real, but “this is early, this is still years away.”
According to USA Today, hobbyists and authorities like the police force are allowed to use drones here in the US. But the Federal Aviation Administration, the body that governs airspace, wouldn’t be quick to allow Amazon the opportunity to put its octocopters in the air. Though commercial use, like Amazon’s drones, are a few years away.
Experts tell CNN that getting these drones in the air by 2015, Bezos’ prediction, is “optimistic.” And, according to that MIT expert, plenty of people are asking about what it would take to keep people from shooting down the drones. So keeping them in the air will also be a concern.
Whether or not we ever see a drone flying our book to our door, Amazon has gotten a lot of publicity from the announcement. And that might be enough, with The Huffington Post calling it a big ‘ol publicity stunt.
“A 30-second commercial during ’60 Minutes’ runs over $100,000, according to AdAge. At that price, a 14-minute editorial is worth millions in free advertising,” the site says.
This doesn’t mean that people won’t see these drones someday soon. CNET goes into detail about the ways that we’re advancing toward more commercial drone use. Only that, for now, it’s so far off, it’s not a possibility and therefore, in many ways, not really news.
And then there’s a question of demand. Do we really need our Amazon orders this quickly? If it were available, would you pay for this service.