Amazon Air’s Delivery Drones “As Common as Seeing a Mail Truck?” ThrottleNet Examines
It’s a bird! It’s a plane…no, it’s that organic birdseed and the die-cast B52 Bomber model you ordered online a few days ago, along with some toiletries and a few cans of Surge to wash down that taste of your impulse shopping adventures.
Like we discussed with Google’s Driverless Cars a few months back, another futuristic could-be reality coming soon is the implementation and regulation of delivery drones being pushed heavily by Amazon.
In the past few years Amazon’s Jeff Bezos put the carrot out there that Amazon was working towards creating its own fleet of delivery drones and inventing an amazing new service called Prime Air – a drone delivery service promising same-day delivery of essentials using unmanned aerial vehicles. Prime Air is no secret – it’s a technology Amazon is working hard to achieve, both in-house and with the help of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Amazon Air is back in the news now, with Bezo’s latest quote, foreshadowing the future of delivery, stating that delivery drones will one day be “as common as seeing a mail truck.”
That someday, in his mind, is within the next few years.
The technology for delivery drones, as well as the convenience they provide are already available but currently, the biggest hurdle is regulation.
It’s hard enough to find a public place to fly a drone, and there are concerns about what would happen if they were everywhere.
Three Questions About Delivery Drones and How They Will Work
While delivery drones would be extremely cool to see in the next few years, we can’t help but think “not so fast” due to limitations and regulatory concerns surrounding the potential for this technology.
1. Will delivery drones have dedicated airspace?
In order for delivery drones to work, they need their own airspace, and that’s exactly what Amazon has proposed. Delivery drones could work in their own dedicated airspace, as to not interfere with commercial air traffic, while using their own air traffic control system. Amazon officials proposed setting commercial drone zones at an altitude of 200 to 400 feet above the ground.
2. Is a 30-minute delivery window too ambitious, even for Amazon?
Delivery drones must serve an actual purpose besides being gimmicky. Amazon has come out and stated a very ambitious target of delivering products to their destination 30 minutes or less after an online purchase is made. Give or take, it would be very difficult for a small Quadracopter to travel at a speed much greater than 50 mph. To fulfill a 30-minute delivery promise, Amazon would likely need fulfillment centers with Prime Air eligible products located a mere 25 miles from every possible delivery location. It would be extremely expensive and essentially unrealistic to make this a nationwide service unless technology changes drastically in the next few years. At this point, Amazon is far from making any UPS drivers sweat about job security.
3. Will delivery drones change our lives or the world?
This is the biggest question, and the one Amazon hopes to answer with a resounding “yes.”
In order for this to happen, drones have to be smarter, faster and more reliable than what is currently available. Anything is possible but right now, we’ll believe it when we see it.