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Old December 1st, 2013, 10:58 PM   #1
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Amazon Prime Air?

Can't believe that nobody over here has commented on Sunday night's 60 minutes interview with Jeff Bezos about Amazon's development of Prime Air autonomous drones for delivery of small items.

It sounded at first like a April fools gag - but it appears that they're actually in serious development.

If nothing else, this will surely open some form of drone floodgates, since if a commercial operator is allowed to use the airways for drone based package delivery - it's going to be very hard for the government to make the case that those same skies should not be open for other commercial drone uses.

In the interview, they're clear that they're still in development - and no guarantees the service will actually ever get off the ground (so to speak!) but it's till potentially a watershed moment.

What a massive change our skies might be about to undergo!

In a few years, will buzzing small goods delivery drones become part of our day to day lives?

The mind boggles.
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Old December 2nd, 2013, 06:10 AM   #2
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Re: Amazon Prime Air?

Well, as a child growing up in the 1960s, I used to read Popular Mechanics and many issues had futuristic flying cars on the cover. That never happened, and it never will. If you think about it, it is was as impossible as the Carbon Motors fiasco. The skies are never going to be filled with the untrained and no highway is going to suddenly become a safe runway. Take a look at the drivers around you some day, and imagine them at the controls of a high speed aircraft.

Now fast forward to the 21st century. For very good reasons, there will never be commercialization of unmanned drones that fly beyond eyesight of their controller. There is just too much that can go wrong.

So basically Amazon would be delivering a $10 package in a $20 million aircraft.

Sounds like fun. Ain't never gonna happen.
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Old December 2nd, 2013, 06:31 AM   #3
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Re: Amazon Prime Air?

Bill, when I read the article on CNN a few minutes ago, my first thought was this forum. IMO, there is absolutely no way Amazon will be allowed to do this. It's just a big publicity stunt.

Imagine hundreds of these drones flying around your city. Oh, and hundreds of UPS and FEDEX drones too, because surely they will want to take advantage of this delivery method. It would be an air traffic control nightmare, not to mention a huge litigation hazard for these companies when their drones kill a few people. And then, there's the noise.
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Old December 2nd, 2013, 07:24 AM   #4
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Re: Amazon Prime Air?

Re the air traffic control nightmare, they could fly below 500 feet and be out of GA airspace. How could a large number of vehicles operate autonomously in a confined airspace? They might use a communications protocol like APRS which would permit inter-vehicle communications to "detect and avoid" other aircraft.

They have other logistical issues that make the operation for delivery impractical, such as lift capability to provide a useful service.
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Old December 2nd, 2013, 07:33 AM   #5
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Re: Amazon Prime Air?

Here's a BBC piece on this. BBC News - Amazon testing drones for deliveries

Although, currently it sounds more like a piece of pre-Christmas promotional work than a large scale means of delivering parcels. At the moment, Google map/earth commonly doesn't give the right house (or street at times) when you type in an address, so I can't see Amazon being much better.
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Old December 2nd, 2013, 09:18 AM   #6
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Re: Amazon Prime Air?

Looks like Jeff Bezos is inspired by this: Drones in China deliver packages, even a birthday cake | Cutting Edge - CNET News

They are already delivering packages like birthday cakes in china using drones.
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Old December 3rd, 2013, 01:10 AM   #7
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Re: Amazon Prime Air?

Im not sure it matters if Amazon is doing this for a publicity stunt or whether it will ever be possible, the whole debate regarding AP from MR's is so out of control let Jeff Bezos take on the FAA for a while. Might be entertaining.
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Old December 3rd, 2013, 05:45 PM   #8
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Re: Amazon Prime Air?

Very smart publicity stunt, be impossible to implement for many tech reasons.
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Old December 3rd, 2013, 06:44 PM   #9
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Re: Amazon Prime Air?

The idea has already been obsoleted by a UK bookstore :-) -

And the use of O.W.L.S. means no issues with air traffic control etc.......

(Worth reading the FAQs about the service, as well!)
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