Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has set his eye on the future of order fulfillment. He sees a day where Amazon is no longer to relying on the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx or UPS to deliver their packages to customer’s doorsteps. He recently told Charlie Rose of “60 Minutes” that his company is looking into using automated drones to deliver packages.
While this might sound like far off in the future speculation, it might be closer than you think. As everyone knows the military makes extensive use of drones for both reconnaissance and weapons payload delivery. However what may people might not know is drones are already being used in everyday business, in our own cities right now. Surveying companies use them, Gatewing President Maarten Vandenbroucke says, “ it’s a faster way to survey a site. The X100 offers more accurate plotting than a ground-based GPS survey because it’s not possible to plot as many points on the ground as the X100 is capable of above. (See more at: http://www.equipmentworld.com/using-uavs-for-surveying-dimensions-2012/#sthash.knOZgiVn.dpuf) The Transbay Center project in San Francisco makes extensive use of VTOL drones to get real time assessment of the projects progress. Video is shot from the air and can be downloaded or streamed to engineers involved in the project who can’t visit the site in person.
Bezos went on to tell Rose that the drones could carry up to five pounds of goods in a ten-mile radius from one of the company’s fulfillment centers. Estimating the drones, which would use GPS coordinates to find a specific location, would likely not appear for four to five years. Adding, “an estimate before 2015 overly optimistic.” The drones would be “very green,” he told “60 Minutes”, since they would not burn fuel like delivery trucks.
Obviously there are many considerations about public safety, air traffic, etc to be considered. What would stop people from trying to intercept the drones and abscond with their payload? That said, it would be exciting to have robots deliver my blue ray orders.
sources: variety.com, equipmentworld.com, 60 Minutes
images: net4surf.com, situationbrief.com