Amazon recently announced they intend to use drones to speed delivery of customer packages to their front door. The service, in testing phase currently, is to be called Amazon Prime Air. While I have no doubt they really are testing a system like this, for now it seems more like a publicity stunt. They are just the latest in a line of companies announcing drone deliveries of everything from pizza to textbooks. I would not be surprised to see UPS, FedEx, DHL, and other shipping firms start their own testing programs.

While I think the concept is interesting, regulations will obviously need to be worked out first, and reliable systems with proven track records will have to be developed.

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Comment by HeliStorm on December 1, 2013 at 7:59pm

An additional thought. As more companies promote these types of systems, the more the public will come to see drones as something other than weapons, or surveillance platforms. This is obviously good for all of us in the long run. 

Comment by Muhammad Al-Rawi on December 1, 2013 at 8:24pm

April December fools!

Comment by HeliStorm on December 1, 2013 at 8:32pm

That is what I was thinking...?

Comment by taylor loper on December 1, 2013 at 9:03pm

Amazon doesn't have pilots like us. Just wait, someone is going to get killed.

Comment by BluSky1 on December 1, 2013 at 9:17pm

Comment by Gary Mortimer on December 1, 2013 at 9:34pm

So its cheaper to hire licenced pilots than spotty youths driving multiple packages in vans who knew!  FedEx is keen on starting a service to replace all the caravan drivers they have. Expect the first service to be between China and Australia though.

Comment by Philip Moffett on December 1, 2013 at 9:39pm

Looks like they are using 3DR's GPS/compass module (external version) - look closely on the pics.  Maybe that means the APM as well :)

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on December 1, 2013 at 9:43pm

@Phillip ;-)

Comment by David on December 1, 2013 at 9:55pm

The interesting part about Amazon tackling this popular concept, is that they might actually have the tenacity and the capital to pull it off. Knowing the FAA though, I really can't see this happening in the next 5 years. 

Comment by LanMark on December 1, 2013 at 10:00pm

Nothing says safety like 8 exposed propellers and landing in populated landing zones. :)   I think having protected props like the SFC4410 would be much more realistic to a future delivery vehicle.  Granted I don't expect the FAA to drop the LOS element of their rules in the next decade at the very least as well.

What Amazon Prime Air really is, is a marketing ploy to get people talking and clearly a 60 minutes spot does that as well..  I really don't think Jeff considers this even as a possibility over delivery drivers that you pay low wages..  how exactly do get insurance policies that make it even feasible over other means...  I think driverless delivery vans would be more realistic :)


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