In what is allegedly not an April Fools stunt launched five months prematurely, Jeff Bezos announced that Amazon plans to start delivering packages by drone. He took to CBS’ 60 Minutes last night to announce that packages less than five pounds will be mailed by the flying robots as part of its “Amazon Prime Air” program.
By 2015, Mr. Bezos plans to disrupt our peaceful skies with thousands of Amazon-branded drones dropping off Kindles, DVD copies of Magic Mike and infinity scarves to people’s yards within thirty minutes of placing the order. Theoretically, the octocopters will wait patiently at the end of the conveyor belts located at its several dozen fulfillment centers. From there, they will be deployed and hopefully not lop off a dog’s head when they land.
The elaborate publicity stunt already faces obstacles, like a minor thing called the law. For now, the FAA bans drones from being used for commercial purposes. It’s currently undergoing a multiyear plan in revamping its laws regarding the automated vehicles which might be in place by 2015. Since the FAA has missed earlier deadlines, that date is unlikely.
Also, the program is a logistical question mark. The drones on the marketplace can’t zip past a 10 mile radius from where they’re launched, which would be from fulfillment centers that are located in smaller, rural towns. Perhaps the citizens of Chattanooga, TN might be able to utilize the program, but there’s no way that drones will be flying around in densely populated cities like New York.
That doesn’t seem to deter Mr. Bezos who seemed confident on the weekly newsmagazine that it’s going to be successful. “It will work and it will happen, and it’s gonna be a lot of fun,” he said.
Yes, fun for you because you won’t be filling out the liability forms.