Video of Amazon’s new delivery drones in action (seriously)

I’d heard the news the other day that online retailer Amazon has been working on using unmanned drones to deliver purchases, sometime in the future, in under 30 minutes.

And now there’s video, from Amazon itself.

This is not a joke.

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I suppose, when you think of it, the notion isn’t entirely far-fetched. Yes, drones are used to kill people, but they’ve also been used for years for surveillance, and even before that, for fun. What kid didn’t grow up wanting a remote controlled airplane?

Of course, in this case, as someone noted on YouTube, your toy plane can also wipe out the neighbors:

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • fletcher

    What if the factory supplying drones to Amazon get the orders mixed up and the Tablet computer you ordered crashes into an Al Qaeda operative in Qatar.

  • fletcher

    Ah for the good old days when you heard the word drone it meant a politician was delivering a speech.

  • Ned

    Also, has Amazon considered the possibility that piratical falconers could deploy specially-trained birds of prey to waylay these drones and their cargo?

  • Ned

    These cargo drones would have to be able to negotiate myriad obstacles (tree branches, power lines, cable tv lines, phone lines) as well as evade the numerous projectiles (golf balls, bb pellets, baseballs, arrows, shotgun blasts, volleyballs, crossbow bolts, trebuchet-launched bowling balls) that would be launched with mischievous or larcenous intent.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Drones for everyone! Terrorists are taking note.

  • http://www.newmillgay.com/ The_Fixer

    Oh, this has to be a publicity stunt or some kind of stunt.

    This would never work reliably. The liability issues alone would make it impractical. Then there’s the issue of just who would pilot these things? Assuming this is possible, what’s going to prevent the people piloting these things from using them to snoop on people?

    What about the range of the radio system used to control it? Gonna do that over WiFi? I think not. WiFi ain’t everywhere, and the latency would be a killer. They’d need a dedicated chunk of radio spectrum in each city, along with a network of transmitters/video relays that would give reliable coverage in between buildings and in the worst of conditions. I know Jeff Bezos bleeds green, but it would be such a money-loser that even he’d be forced to abandon in in no time.

    If this is a real idea, it is one of the most poorly thought-out ideas ever. It will never work reliably with the current technology.

  • Monoceros Forth

    I worked for Amazon for a short time in 2001 as a programmer–only five months–but in that short time I got the idea that coming up with “brain farts” was the modus operandi. Mind you, I only got a brief taste with working with one small development group in one department. But we were basically cut loose without any real direction given and I eventually gathered that you were supposed to create work for yourself, ideally by dreaming up some new feature to add and then making that your pet project.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    There was a great article last year by Mac McLelland, who went undercover to work as one of Amazon’s warehouse slaves, and while books and DVDs were the primary things people bought, sex toys of all shapes and sizes were also high on the list. So now, I’m thinking Gary Kasparov’s remote-controlled dildo was actually Amazon’s early test program.

  • nicho

    Some people will fall for anything. This is just ridiculous and unworkable on the face of it.

    1. Does anyone really think the FAA and the DHS are going to OK having thousands of drones flying around over everyone’s rooftop?
    2. The idiots who now try to blind airline pilots with lasers will turn their attention to shooting down drones with their shotguns. Hell, it’s better than having to pay to go to the skeet range.
    3. What happens when a drone or two encounters a flock of birds — and then drops into a schoolyard where it takes out a couple of kids? Even airliners are no match for birds.

    4. GPS is good within so many yards. I’ve had it try to take me off a mountain side. That doesn’t bode well for accurate delivery.
    5. Mr. Drone meet Mr. Power Line. Oh, look, there’s Mr. Widespread Blackout.
    6. As Indigo points out, not everyone has a drone landing pad at their house.
    7. If I were a terrorist, I’d already be designing a drone that would look like it was delivering a package, but would have a bunch of explosives. “Candygram for Mr. Jones.”

    I could go on and on. The problems are so overwhelming that it’s ridiculous. And the fact that teh network didn’t ask any of the hard questions — only PR type questions — shows to what depths American “journalism” has sunk. The fact that the interviewer was so awed to be speaking to the sublime Jeff Bezos, instead of laughing him out of the studio, tells you that show isn’t worth watching.

  • nicho

    It’s a joke — but it got tremendous “Cyber Monday” headlines for Amazon.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Obviously we need to bomb and invade Seattle now. I mean, if a jerry-built balsa-wood RC plane held together with duct tape can be cited as a casus belli against Iraq then surely this device is an even greater threat.

  • MoonDragon

    This lasts until the first fake “Amazon” drone delivers a box full of white powder.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Meaning it’s a joke? It feels like a joke.

  • fletcher

    What makes Amazon think drones can get their packages to customers safely? Haven’t they seen the episode of “Harry’s Law” where Kathy Bates blows a drone out of the air with a shotgun?

  • Maxwell Smart

    Why is it that I can’t help but wonder if the untold portion of this story is that the NSA is partially funding this effort by supplying camera’s for each drone.

  • Indigo

    Neither Montana nor Idaho nor, for that matter, Oklahoma and Utah — gun-toting redneck strongholds all — are usually considered “Southern” states.

  • MyrddinWilt

    Its going to work out real well down in the South with the gun nuts shooting at them.

    Boeing used to move their fuselages by train from one plant to another. Every shipment was found to have bullet holes through the fin bit. So they made a rail car with a big box to hide what was inside and make it a less tempting target for the numbskulls.

    Must be ‘great’ working for a company where the CEO wakes up one morning and tells you that you have to put his latest brain fart into production in 48 hours.

  • Indigo

    Because everybody in the world lives in large houses on big lots with bricked patios. Oh, yeah.

  • lilyannerose

    Saw an article up this morning that this is a publicity stunt.

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