Amazon, UPS, and the Questions Raised by Drone Delivery

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The world is ever-changing, as evidenced by the FAA’s prediction that up to 7,500 unmanned aircraft could be zipping about US airspace with the next five years. If Amazon and UPS have their way, those aircraft will be delivering packages to waiting recipients faster than any traditional delivery method ever did.

On Sunday’s episode of 60 Minutes, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos announced Amazon Prime Air, the online retailer’s newest delivery service that delivers good via unmanned drones – deliveries that could happen in thirty minutes or less.  It was only a few days later that news came out about parcel service UPS toying with the same idea.

Of course, this concept is years from realization. Many speculate that Bezos’s premature announcement was a Cyber Monday ploy. What Bezos really delivered on Sunday was a bevy of questions as to how a service like this would work and how vulnerable it would be.

Just days after it was announced, I stumbled across a joke on Reddit about a group of armed men “hunting” for Christmas presents by shooting at Amazon drones. While phrased as a joke, it’s something to think about. What about weather issues? Could a drone withstand rain, sleet, snow, etc? Would the package be safe from harm?

Then there’s the more elaborate and arguably most-likely concern of hijacking. As technology grows more advanced, so do efforts to sabotage and take advantage of that technology, and if a drone were hacked into, the results could range from package theft to acts of terrorism.

Then there’s the looming threat of the drones becoming sentient, but let’s take this one step at a time.

Even with drone technology as advanced as it is, this is a massive undertaking, not just from a technological stand point, but from a legal one, too. Amazon UPS, and the FAA have a lot of work ahead of them.

Via The Verge, Boston Globe

 

 

About

Dylan Duarte is a freelance writer who's covered videogames, film, television, and now tech! Be sure to check out his site, Dylan Reviews Everything, and follow him on Twitter: @dylanduarte.

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