They’ll invent flying carpets or doormats to cover them up with?
It’s already a problem. I lived in a neighborhood once where mail-order wouldn’t stay on the stoop five minutes. It has nothing to do with drones.
My wife’s first comment when the delivery drones were first mentioned: “Neat, skeet shooting, with prizes!”
If the container opens before two-factor authentication, it calls the cops and explodes.
Thank god all of us are equally abled to be called sedentary.
I kinda think this will go the way of the Pony Express as 3D printing begins to unwind its problems.
What? She doesn’t already shoot the UPS guy and steal his stuff?
“According to the patent, the drones will be able to track the location of the person it is delivering to by pulling data from their smartphone. The unmanned vehicles will also be able to talk to each other about weather and traffic conditions.”
I can’t wait until somebody hacks Amazon’s fulfillment network and drones start hunting down people to deliver highly embarrassing products they never ordered… or the NSA installs a back door in Amazon’s fulfillment network and uses the drones to hunt down people.
I assume that these things will be pretty sensored-up for navigational and fleet-management purposes, and probably in communication with the mothership, so knocking one over is likely to be pretty easy(and not carry the more-or-less-automatically-a-felony implications of pulling a gun on a manned delivery vehicle); but knocking one over without Amazon HQ getting a good shot of you, Amazon HQ automatically calling the cops to the scene(probably to within 10s of meters accuracy), or both will be trickier.
Exploitation of more sophisticated vulnerabilities(use some sort of bug to get access to drone cargo information and reroute the valuable stuff, say) has a much better chance of being worth the risk; but will depend on the existence of specific vulnerabilities, and Amazon not fixing them, rather than just being able to down a drone.
If somebody has something against drones, or against Amazon, I’d be inclined to suspect that they’d have a very hard time hardening the system to the point of resistance against a non-economically motivated attacker(there are always going to be pockets of easy concealment with relatively poor police response time, and if somebody wants to hide out there, activate a cell jammer when a drone comes into view, take a few shots, then leave, they won’t necessarily be rewarded for their time; but they could be tricky to catch.
I still have no idea why anyone would think this is a good business idea at all.
Put aside all the technical, theft, safety, and target issues, what benefit would it give over any other means of delivery? You would need to be in range of the inventory warehouse, and drones like these have no range whatsoever. A bicycle courier would be better than these in every single way.
In the near future, “Sky Pirate” will be a real thing.
Definitely the model T delivery drone.
That’s a very urban-centric perspective. A bicycle courier would be make sense in a densely populated area with relatively level terrain, bike lanes, etc. But even in Amazon’s home city, Seattle, there are plenty of neighborhoods where it would be difficult to make that practical. Go into the Seattle suburbs, and in many of them, just riding a bicycle is on the verge of suicidal. Go a bit further out, and you’re in the woods and hills, with winding two-lane roads where running a delivery truck starts to get a lot more time-consuming, and thus, expensive. If you can literally make a bee line to your destination, you may be a lot more efficient. We don’t have visibility into Amazon’s cost analysis or other details of their R&D, but if they’re serious about this, they must have the financial and logistical analysis to back it up.
But that’s the thing, you would need to be within the drone’s operating range. I’m guessing they really couldn’t go 10 miles, and they have to get back. That means you need the inventory effectively walking distance from the customer. Amazon’s efficiency is because it has huge central warehouses next door to airports or other shipping centers.
I expect Seattle has a warehouse and probably a population density around it that could be serviced to maybe make it cost-effective. But that’s also assuming that there are are enough people who need a new pair of headphones, right now, and are willing to pay an enormous fee to have it coptered to their front door.
But, I agree that they must have some idea about its viability. Going through all the patent process, lobbying the FAA, news releases, etc. I haven’t really heard a side saying that it’s a really good idea, apart from sounding cool, especially on BB. I mean, Jeff Bezos isn’t infallible, and CEOs come up with crazy ideas all the time. Sure, you can talk about innovation and ‘nobody believed the airplane would work’, but we know how drones work, and that’s specifically why everyone thinks it’s just a bad idea.
Take your BB user here, everyone is tech savvy, likes novelty. I’m sure many would get a kick of having a helicopter bring them a bottle of shampoo, even willing to pay a premium for it. But that would be it, the cool factor would be gone, and no one would use it again.
Like everything else cyber, William Gibson got there first.
The heroes of Mona Lisa Overdrive save the day hacking a delivery a drone to drop refrigerators on encroaching thugs.
One possibility could be a hybrid system. A truck driver with 50 packages drives to the center of an area and parks there for 10 minutes while drones make the final delivery. You could save quite a bit on driver time and cost that way.
I would definitely order something once just to see what it’s like, but you’re right, the novelty factor would wear off quickly. Another potentially viable use case would be prescription delivery, if Amazon would partner with local pharmacies. That might hit the sweet spot of light weight, high value and the need for speedy delivery. Especially in the Seattle area, winter ice storms can paralyze ground traffic, so drones delivering needed medicines could be a really good thing.
That’s actually what I was thinking about as well!
CVS is everywhere, there is probably one within 10 miles of anyone.
However… A little drone carrying someone’s prescription of oxycontin would be an extremely good target
You read it first on BoingBoing: some day, drones will be used to transport people.
It’s been a long time - I do not remember that scene at all!
You know, as I recall the auto and remote pilot systems on current commercial aircraft are already pretty advanced.
Safety regulations are probably the only thing stopping us from turning them into large people carrying drones.