That Amazon Drone? Not Going To Happen Till 2020


Rakesh Sharma

While regulation may delay Bezos’ plans, technology may get there sooner.

“We are not in hyperloop science fiction territory here,” says Brandon Basso, lead researcher at 3D Robotics, referring to Elon Musk’s plans to develop a transit system between LA and SF . According to him, the range and payload (less than five pounds and ten miles) specified by Bezos will become “more possible” with future technology.

The problem is also one of costs. Basso says the absolute best battery and propulsion technology onboard could set commercial drones by at least $10,000. That is a significant amount of money per drone, even for a money-spinning behemoth like Amazon.

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  • T3

    I have been working as a Stower and Inventory Picker at WRO2 probably longer than any Amazon manager since sept 2014 till may 2016, and have been CTO at drone company  that has 320 times more startup capital than Amazon Fulfillment Poland sp. z o. o. but even then they were not responding to my CV for a position of drone technical program manager. I have been fired because of 'undermining company policy suggesting without reason that there are ethnic selection criteria in use for to management positions'. I conclude they won't even CONSIDER hiring you even if you are probably the most experienced UAV designer in your country. So this must be a pure publicity stunt.

  • John, shhhhhhhh! That will be the one good thing if this ever happens (which it wont) - toss a blanket over these puppies when they come to the door and forget about needing to buy batteries or spare parts ever again!

  • I think the real problem will be someone jacking the $1-$2k drone when it goes to deliver a $20 package.
  • The spectacle of all sorts of people falling all over themselves trying jump on Amazon's bandwagon is becoming really distasteful. Instead of a reasoned coherent voice like Robert's or Gary's coming forth  from this community we are at risk of looking like a bunch of shilling baboons mistaking the new moon for a banana, just as soon as Joe Q. Public figures out that the Amazon thing is fairy dust. I've changed my mind about the publicity having positive side effects for us. It raises expectations to totally unrealistic levels, from which there will be an eventual fall, and it is obscuring genuinely valuable things, like the ag applications that were highlighted a few days ago until shoved off the page by this crap.

  • IMO, the electronics and software will be capable of doing this in 5 years easily.  Probably 1 year if Amazon pours resources into it.  However, I don't see any solution to the realistic flight range and payload restrictions anywhere on the horizon, no matter how much money they throw at it.  You are not going to be able to fly a multirotor with a 5lb package for 1 hour without a Mr. Fusion.  This is the elephant in the room.  It completely eclipses any discussion about regulations, collision avoidance, etc.

    It could be done easily, today, with gasoline powered helicopters, but nobody is going to go for that for obvious reasons. 

  • Just to stir the publicity stunt spectulation: You guys realize Amazon bought Kiva systems, makers of industrial automation systems, and was co-founded by the head professor of ETH's flying arena.... so the thinking's there and likely less than 5yrs out for limited use.
  • FedEx is responding to the ludicrous Amazon publicity stunt (and to the hoards of people, some from this community, jostling for position like so many Black Friday shoppers in what they perceive to be an arena filled with Amazon dollars) by announcing a "green" super-reliable semi- autonomous delivery vehicle system that will convey orders of up to 1,000 pounds to customers' doorsteps. Called "FedEx Primal," the system consists of African elephants equipped with the new 3DR  "APM" (Asymmetrical Pachyderm Mover) modules. These units guide the elephant to the customer location and back by means of a small swiveling peanut-tossing catapult mounted on the top of the elephant's collar (at the destination it dispenses a Rollo). FedEx states that there are no local conditions or obstacles capable of deterring a peanut-bound elephant (let alone one anticipating a Rollo). There are also no regulatory issues, ta-da!. The system is expected to be up and running by a week from Thursday.

  • No need for that, good nav software with up to date 3D terrain model and some sensors for unexpected circumstances is all that is needed. There is even option to use ADS-B to avoid collision with other "Amazon swarm members" or with other "air space inhabitants". I think it is really easier to make them fully autonomous instead of making control network covering large areas.

  • IMHO its absolutely real if they make control network like Wifi spot cells. 

  • Does anybody knows is there real research and work under or it is just visualized idea?

    I would like to contact Amazon Prime Air team does anybody knows anyone working on it or knows who might know?


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