Monday, 02 December 2013 22:29

Was Amazon's Drone Annoucement Intended to Hide Slow Holiday Sales and Other Problems?

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Yesterday Amazon made an announcement that they were working on plans to deliver goods to people’s homes using a fleet of electrical powered, unmanned drones. The articles that followed this were… forward looking to say the least. Many of them seem to have missed s crucial part of the announcement (and reality). Sadly for them these little snags will probably delay any attempt to use drones for delivery for at least the next ten years.

What most seem to have missed is that the current technology is very immature with a limited cargo capacity of between 1 and 2 Kilos or about five pounds max and a maximum range of about 10 miles. This means that the delivery good would be to a very small number of people and the packages delivered would be small. To use the service you would need to live within 10 miles of an Amazon fulfillment center. So if the service were to launch today it would be of very limited use and more of a novelty than a real delivery method.

To further cloud the fantasy the US has not even decided on regulations for the operation of unmanned aircraft in civilian airspace. This is a topic that is being hotly debated in congress just to put together a basis for this new type of aircraft. In the meantime most US citizens are not happy with the idea of undammed aircraft flying all over the place and potentially invading their privacy. This has become even more apparent after revelations by Edward Snowden showed the level of surveillance the US employs. In some people’s eye even something as simple as a delivery drone could be another eye (granted this is extreme).

In the end the idea that little drones will deliver our goods is a fantasy for a future time and not one that will be employed any time soon. The technology is not there to support this and, as it stands right now, it is illegal to do. This announcement could be nothing more than a marketing message used to hide slow holiday sales and the fact that Amazon still has to collect sales taxes from your internet purchases. Oh, and have we forgotten that they are tracking your buying habits even more than normal. With all that we have to wonder why the thought of delivery drones made the news at all.

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Read 2116 times Last modified on Monday, 02 December 2013 22:39

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