Is an Amazon Drone Even Possible?
Today’s the day I get my Google Nexus 5. I also got the new iPad Air from Black Friday, which I went over on iPad365. Had some small audio issues with This Week in Google Glass, but otherwise the show went really well — talking about the Seattle restaurant that banned glass. Our TPN crowdfund is still happening and really needs your help — get a T-shirt!
Bought a FreedomPop Mifi puck last night on Cyber Monday deal. You can find out more and help me get free usage.
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Of course you probably heard about it – the 60 minutes video with Jeff Bezos showing off the octo-copter. An Amazon drone that would deliver up to 5 lb packages to your home in 30 minutes. As space age as it sounds, is it really possible?
In the Jetsons, George got drone packages and messages – straight into his home. The Hunger Games dropped gifts to competitors with parachutes.
We know that octo-copters exsist – the quad-copter A.R. Drone has been out at CES for over 5 years showing off their latest technologies. New companies come on the scene making bigger and better drones. Even with 3D printing and low-power computers with Wifi and cameras, you could make your own octo-copter.
But could a package be delivered by drone in 30 minutes from fulfillment center to home?
Wired.com did the math: An octocopter can do about 30-40 MPH in the air 1,500 feet up. That is if it doesn’t have to deal with weather and also depends on the weight of the package. The 30 minutes or less would mean an Amazon distribution center would have to be in cities across the country to make it.
Could a long-range drone be possible to ship from one to another fulfillment center? Yes. All you have to do is program GPS coordinates into a drone and give it some algorithm to avoid birds and other items. If it gets knocked down, the drone can send a beacon to Amazon, which could easily be retrieved.
Some problems that come out of it include people like Phillip Steel, who stated he will shoot down any drone that crosses his land in Deer Trail, Colorado. But what if a drone can understand the sound of a gun shot and create evasive maneuvers? What if the octocopter and adjoining package are made with material that can withstand a bullet?
Further, what if the FAA deems shooting down a drone would be similar to shooting any aircraft? Steel might own the land, but doesn’t own the space above it.
Long range drones would most likely fly a path that doesn’t cross over too many people’s land — which means highway route travel. It can cause for predictive measures that thieves could catch onto, but if the drone holds security devices such as a digital camera and emergency beacons, high-stakes retrieval crimes might be avoided. That and having drone carry packages that don’t cost more than $50-$100. It wouldn’t be worth it for a criminal to go after them.
Bezos says this technology is years out. So why did he talk about it now? Well, one reason could be free advertising on Cyber Monday Amazon got. That could also have set a standard for years to come — similar to an “April fools day jokes” we see on the web. But could the other reason be the possible striking workers in Germany? There are 800 workers on strike, but could feel pressured to return to their jobs after finding out Amazon is working on an alternate method to reduce workforce.
You might think an Amazon drone is a crazy idea, but in reality – its not. If Amazon can do it, why not another company? Maybe soon you’ll look up in the air while your family is travelling to grandmas house and you’ll pass by multitudes of those drones similar to ducks flying south for the winter.
In the meantime, your package you just ordered from Amazon will most likely not be delivered by a drone.
Geek Smack! is a weekly video show and podcast that comes out every Tuesday evening. Your host: Jeffrey Powers – talks tech news, IT news and geek news for the week. Geek Smack! is ©2013 under a Creative Commons no-deriv license. Captain America and the Avengers! If you would like more information about what is technology, recent news, Geekazine, and Jeffrey Powers, feel free to contact him. Jeffrey Powers does interviews, just ask!