Initially I was as impressed as anyone with Jeff Bezos’s forward thinking in utilizing drones to deliver Amazon purchases to customers within ten miles of an Amazon warehouse. Finally, all that was promised to us by the Jetsons is coming true. Great stuff, right? Then I began to think it through. Technically I believe it could be done two to three years down the line, but do I really need a delivery of Grand Theft Auto V or a Bikini Trimmer air shipped to my door in thirty minutes or less? Innovative?; Yes. The practicality of it makes no sense. It amounts to using a cannon to swat a fly from ten miles away. You have to applaud the technical accuracy of doing so, but practically it is a gross misuse of a powerful emerging technology. Then there are the issues of drones flying through urban areas with marketable goods, dropping them at a GPS location without conformation of receipt. What about a kid with a slingshot taking a shot at the drone just to bring it down as a trophy to show his friends. The technology is expensive. As drones become more mainstream drone chop shops would pop up where these flying delivery drones could be captured by catapulted nets or even more innovative capture drones would whisk them away to be disassembled and sold for parts. There is a place for this technology but utilized for something that makes more sense. I am thinking about emergency hospital delivery drones that could deliver a special antitoxin to an emergency medical response team. Or maybe a diabetic patient that ran out of insulin could get a drop at his door. This would be a much better use of an amazing new technology and less susceptible to capture as they would not be as ever present as the swarm of delivery drones delivering some scotch tape to quell a late night gift wrapping emergency. Have you ever heard what these things sound like? Eight rotating blades generating enough lift raise a five pound package is not exactly stealthy. The thought of hundreds of passes a day in urban areas would considerable add to noise pollution of populated areas. This was not the goal of this announcement.
Given the unprecedented success of Bezos and Amazon I would bet that this has all been thought through already. This three year premature announcement served only to bring attention to the world’s largest online marketplace the day before cyber Monday.
Once again, genius!