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What do you think of the Amazon delivery drone plan?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / April 15, 2014 9:43 AM PDT

To give some perspective to this poll read this CNET article: Amazon delivery drones edge closer to reality

What do you think of the Amazon delivery drone plan? Why or why not?

-- I welcome it.
-- I can't wait to see these take flight.
-- I don't like it.
-- It will never happen.
-- I can see accidents happening.
-- I probably won't see these in my life time.
-- I don't like drones.
-- They will be a hazard to public airspace.
-- Others. (What is it?)

Vote here:

Note: This post was edited by its original author on 04/15/2014 at 4:53 PM PT

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Not completely related but here's an incident
by Steven Haninger / April 15, 2014 9:52 AM PDT
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I hope they aren't going to do deliveries to the gun range..
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / April 15, 2014 9:56 AM PDT
Devil Pull!
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Drone delivery from Amazon.
by sbeverid / April 15, 2014 3:05 PM PDT

Considering the fact that they do not operate in Australia directly, I can't see it being any more than just another fancy idea. Crossing the Pacific just to deliver a small parcel to me is not even a pipe-dream. However people probably said that to the Wright Brothers.

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Drone delivery from Amazon.
by sbeverid / April 15, 2014 3:06 PM PDT

Considering the fact that Amazon does not operate in Australia directly, I can't see it being any more than just another fancy idea. Crossing the Pacific just to deliver a small parcel to me is not even a pipe-dream. However people probably said that to the Wright Brothers.

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Big Brother???
by mike53_1999 / April 22, 2014 10:44 AM PDT

I can see it now "Dam Clem I got me a nother one them there Government Flying things, and I got a new pair of soxs to boot"

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by tedtks / April 15, 2014 11:59 AM PDT

I dont think its going to happen.
at least not locally - in the PNW.
my thought/fear - - the loss of packages ! too many things can happen.
equipment malfunction, weather - a soaked package, drone brought down by winds/rain
and there will always be some idiot that will shoot it down just for the hell of it.
there would be a limit to the altitude, especially in large cities that have
the Helo police - not going to happen.
great idea, just not completely thought out.
hahaha or maybe its just me.

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Let's be realistic.
by Mr Windows / April 15, 2014 12:22 PM PDT

With so many people living in high rise dwellings today, there will be nowhere for these drones to drop off the packages. Even if you do live in a single dwelling house, if you're not out on your front lawn waiting for the drones, someone else will see it, and poof, your package is gone. It makes for great science fiction, but in reality, there are just too many obstacles to it being practical.

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Utter Pipe Dream
by JVCooperative / April 15, 2014 12:32 PM PDT

This is a completely impractical idea for about a hundred different reasons. I don't even know where to start.

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Too many packages
by rziulek / April 15, 2014 12:34 PM PDT

Amazon ships millions of packages. The cost of the drones would bankrupt the company. It just isn't cost effective. Plus the risks associated with flying these drones all over the place is just too high.

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I agree with the prior skeptics - too many obstacles.
by wpgwpg / April 15, 2014 12:52 PM PDT

High rises, air traffic congestion, lost/damaged parcels, equipment failures, vandalism, etc. Bezos is a very smart guy, but I sure have problems seeing how it could work.

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Drones over NYC
by Bob_Meyer / April 15, 2014 2:43 PM PDT

I can't wait to see 10,000 Amazon drones launched over NYC. Is 10,000 enough for the daily Amazon traffic in New York? I don't know. But it's a surreal, apocalyptic image. Watch them blacken the sky over Manhattan, using acid and lasers to burn through the windows and deliver the packages direct to high rise apartments. Dog fighting with pigeons, strafing the squirrels in Central Park, sleeping under the bridges, hanging upside down. Maybe they feed on the homeless. Will they turn on their creator? Will we end up hunting them in the canyons with torches, nets and clubs?


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Amazon drones are just a PR stunt
by randmart65 / April 15, 2014 3:20 PM PDT

Amazon drones are just a PR stunt and its working.
People are taking it seriously and talking about Amazon.
If I see one, I'm bringing it down with a tennis racquet.

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On a less more serious note
by netsiu / April 15, 2014 3:50 PM PDT

I agree with just about everybody that has posted so far. Especially Bob Meyer.

They could be used only for local because of fuel capacity.
They would have to fly below 500 feet to not be a menace to real air traffic.
They would have to be able to see and identify then evade buildings, wires, towers, Etc. Etc.
They would have to be able to think so it would know which door and where the door is.
I would have to be small enough to fly into a small alcove. (My door sits 3 feet from the front porch in a space as wide as the doorframe.)
They would Et cetera, Et cetera, Et cetera.

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Cautiously Optomistic
by ManateeWatcher / April 15, 2014 4:51 PM PDT

I want to see this happen, and I'm sure that many of the same concerns Amazon has are the ones I have thought of, and I'm also sure there are others I haven't considered. Specifically, this is what I am concerned about:
- Liability (crashes, lost devices, incidental and consequential damages to property, accidental impact with a human or animal)
- Navigation (requires dependency on a system that is not maintained by Amazon, and as seen in the past, can be optionally down-shifted, to limited availability, which reduces the accuracy of GPS, for the purpose of security, which have, in the past, not been announced before the 'switch' was thrown)
- Theft of the craft
- Identification (A complete load-out of anti-collision beacons, thus reducing battery life and maximum distance. Transponder with remote-controlled squawk and ident ability.
- Combined theater cooperation (The device will have to navigate according to NOTAMS, PIREPS and available METAR data, but also must be able to avoid and other craft of it's own type, and civilian, commercial, military fixed-wing and rotary aircraft, in addition to (and this is kind of difficult) recreational sky divers and their chutes, gliders, and balloons)
- FAA flight plan filing.
I fear that the amount of gear to accomplish the above may make for a larger craft than shown in pictures, videos and the 60 Minutes piece.
One idea I thought of was the distribution of an in-expensive landing pad, roughly a yard-square, with a simple radio beacon... A sheet of Tyvek with an flat,battery operated broadcast carrier, which may solve some of the navigation and liability issues, but there is more to consider here.
Feedback welcome!

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Not likely to happen - way too complicated.
by darrenforster99 / April 15, 2014 5:29 PM PDT

This idea is just a dream and is way too complicated to happen.

If Amazon do decide to try it out they'd better go down the route that Motorola did with Iridium and launch it as a separate company to protect themselves from bankruptcy.

I was reading Duncan Bannatyne's book on 42 Mistakes businesses make - and got to case 3 - Motorola Iridium. After reading it I was absolutely ROFLMAO at how stupid an idea it was. Iridium was a phone service launched by Motorola originally planned in the early 90's but it took them that long to get operational it didn't arrive till about 1998. The idea was to buy a load of old Russian and US rockets, build a few satellites, send the satellites into orbit, and have a phone network that you could get a signal on no matter where you were in the world. Sounds good - except due to the cost each phone was about $7,000 and each call was $7 a minute. In the 1990's mobile phone coverage was scatty in a lot of places, but by the time all the planning and investment had been done in 1998 the world had moved on and their were masts all over the place. Instead of buying a $7,000 phone and making calls at $7 a minute you could easily just go to a mobile phone shop and get a normal mobile phone on a 12-month contract for far less than the price of the phone with many more minutes and just as good coverage (unless you lived somewhere like the North Pole!).

What Motorola failed to see was despite this massive investment there really was no need for this service, and by the time it came to fruition the world had moved on. It's the same with this Amazon drone idea. There already is delivery companies out there that can deliver items in a couple of hours, ok it costs quite a bit to have it delivered that way, and most people would be more than happy to take next day delivery rather than the expense of a couple of hours delivery (although I do have friends who are taxi drivers who have been paid to deliver specialist parts in an hour for factories - where it's absolutely vital the part arrives ASAP). Also if the items are small most of the time that's going to be films or computer games - the world again is moving on, soon there won't be any need to buy blu-rays or computer games on discs (I only buy them on disc at present because buying them online and waiting for them to download on a joke BT 1-2 mbps rural internet connection takes way to long, but even for us they are at present installing fibre in our area so hopefully soon we'll be able to buy films and games more online), and for other items you also have 3D Printers, ok at present they are way to expensive for most households to have one but I don't think it's going to be too long before 3D printers are cheap enough for everyone to have in their home and then all you will need to do is buy a blueprint for the plastic object and print it. So Amazon will be wasting loads on this drone idea, only to find out that a lot of things have already superceded it and it's planes will be useless and too expensive to use.

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Exception - But true
by ManateeWatcher / April 16, 2014 6:11 AM PDT

A sat-based phone system was and is needed, considering the lack of cell towers covering the seas, and remote lands all over the world, but your point, in general, seems reasonable. I've used a sat phone twice, and I was dang happy to pay $19 for each call. It had to be done. The device didn't cost all that much, considering the 'insurance policy' it offered, but the monthly acct fees were a nightmare fo such infrequent use.
There is a lot to be worked out, to make this work, and yep, you are right that entrepreneurs with some savvy and resources can and do provide this ground and even air service for same day delivery... I think the notion is to have control of the infrastructure, rather than contract with so many individual providers of the service, which, while laudable, is, IMHO, not likely to be cost effective, especially give the range, size and weight limits that Bezos mentioned.

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How many fools are there in the world?
by fhl7849 / April 15, 2014 7:43 PM PDT

Anybody noticed it's APRIL?

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How does the drone know where to deliver?
by skooter2 / April 15, 2014 11:16 PM PDT

My assumption is that delivery will be GPS enabled. GPS is imperfect -- In my experience Google maps and other GPS systems think that my home address is 3/4 mile away from the actual location. I would never ask for drone delivery! I will never hear "Your package has arrived!"

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one word
by zclayton3 / April 15, 2014 11:23 PM PDT


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Drone target
by yokosuka / April 16, 2014 2:05 AM PDT

I'm afraid duck hunters will have a field day.

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What do I think about it?
by Oldartq / April 16, 2014 7:14 AM PDT

Not much...because I am not an Amazon share holder. But I bet there will be lots of thinking going on for them though (sell, hold, or buy more). Sleepless night coming up! hehe.

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I think this will be a terrorist's dream!
by deltoncbaker / April 16, 2014 8:00 AM PDT

Just think about it. Total anonymity.
Can't be stopped, for fear of shutting down the legitimate capitalist system.
A legitimate capitalist system would obey the FAA transmission laws, but a terrorist wouldn't care, and would have backup communications that would make them virtually impossible to stop.
The possibilities on how they could pull their terrorist deliveries off, would number to infinity.
Our own government could hide the pilot communications:
(1)in the GPS signals coming form all the satellites in the heavens or
(2)the Television signals in every city in the world.
(3)Rhetorical question! Does anybody know how pagers work?
If that doesn't make you sleepless, maybe what else our government could use them for will.
"Big Brother" (spies in the skies) would be able to take a huge leap forward toward being a reality.
The idea sound like fun stuff, but it will turn into a total nightmare.

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Yep, first delivery....
by James Denison / June 6, 2014 5:04 AM PDT

....of a package to the white house door and watch how quick Congress is all over the drone issue. The only thing that would move them quicker is if it was a delivery of package to the capitol building instead.

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Amazon delivery drone plan
by Doc_sean / April 16, 2014 10:44 AM PDT

This is a little behind the times, by about 2 months. The whole drone system has been grounded by the FAA and will NOT allow Amazon or any other commercial business use drones for a delivery system of any kind...I work at Amazon at the moment until I find employment else where. Jeff was very upset about the grounding of his drones.

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Drone verses truck
by mnmidnight / April 17, 2014 6:37 AM PDT

Unless I'm missing something I don't see drones replacing trucks.

A truck leaves the warehouse in the morning and never returns until it completes its route sometime after 3PM. A drone would have to return to the warehouse to pick up a new package after every delivery.

A driver will deliver over 300 packages a day. At Christmas its over 400 packages a day. That is a lot of round trips from a warehouse to a residence. And UPS has many drivers.

How would a drone deliver 2-5 packages to the same house? Would it have to make a separate trip to the warehouse for each package?

A driver can deliver packages for 2-4 houses on only 1 trip from his truck. Would a drone have to make a round trip to the warehouse the delivery to each house?

Each UPS warehouse has many drivers. How many drones would Amazon need to have to replace one truck? Is many businesses were using drones who or how would they not run into each other. No flight controller could watch that many drones.

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Mini hubs?
by Steven Haninger / April 17, 2014 11:23 PM PDT
In reply to: Drone verses truck

The truck that picks up parcels from an Amazon warehouse in AZ isn't the one that delivers it to someone's home in CT. It will be loaded and offloaded several times in transit. The actual delivery is usually made by the USPS, UPS or FedEx in a smaller van. It wouldn't be that difficult to employ drones from mini hubs in high density areas to make that final delivery. Getting your DLSR tucked away in a safe corner of your porch under the welcome mat would, however, be a trick.

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(NT) Good but in a purpose of surveillance
by Rastagraf / May 29, 2014 10:50 PM PDT
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hazards and accidents should have been single choice
by James Denison / June 6, 2014 5:01 AM PDT

the more there is above us, the more chance of it falling down. Also since will be low altitude, I wonder how birds will react to them?

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In Reply to: What do you think of the Amazon delivery drone
by mixtureofmarket / July 21, 2014 5:41 PM PDT

I am really excited to this feature of Amazon and hopefully it will be authorized by the FAA. In this way the shipments can be faster and more transactions will be done in a day Happy

-mixture of market

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by falken5 / July 31, 2014 11:57 PM PDT

All the issues people have been talking about can be solved easily. First of all, safety; amazons idea where the drone would actually land with packages is like begging for disaster. The Russian pizzeria dodos delivers their pizza via drone by lowering a platform down from the drone with a cable. The drone never lands and is always 20-30 feet off the ground protecting it from vandalism, theft and protecting others from damage.

While traveling the drones would always travel at the maximum distance allowed so that idiots wouldn't try and shoot it down or in other ways destroy it.

This type of delivery probably doesn't make sense in places like Manhattan but could make very much sense in other rural areas.

Embrace the technology and future my friends.

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