Amazon Unveils Flying Robot Delivery Drones

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Amazon Unveils Flying Robot Delivery Drones

"Amazon Prime Air" drones will deliver your package within 30 minutes of ordering.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has unveiled a bold new initiative for his world-famous delivery company: flying robot delivery drones. The service, which sounds like something straight out of The Jetsons, is called "Amazon Prime Air", and should start rolling out as early as 2015. Amazon has released a video of the drones in action, taking packages from a warehouse to the customers doorsteps within 30 minutes of the customer clicking the "buy" button.

Bezos says that the unmanned drones are already in place for commercial distribution, but the company must wait on the FAA to approve them first. Additional safety testing also needs to be performed, as this is the first ever case of unmanned drones being used en masse for commercial purposes. "I know it looks like Science Fiction. It's not," Bezos said in an interview on 60 Minutes.

The drones will be able to carry objects up to five pounds, which according to Bezos, is 86% of what Amazon delivers. They are powered by small electric motors, and can service a ten mile radius from their home fulfillment center, thus ensuring coverage for a significant portion of urban population. The drones operate autonomously, and use GPS co-ordinates to deliver their packages.

"It's very green, it's better than driving trucks around," commented Bezos. The F.A.Q for Prime Air boldly imagines a future where fleets of the unmanned drones are as prevalent as delivery trucks are today.

Put this one in the "the future is now" column. This is just insanely cool in every way it can be, but I can't help but think: what's to stop people from nicking and/or messing with the drones when they land? Any sort of "security system" would be an obvious safety hazard, and these things can't be cheap to make.

Source: Amazon

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I gotta make another potato gun and go hunting amazon drones lol. i can see their little robot faces mounted on my gaming room wall :D

Seriously though, apart from the whole, shooting them, stealing them kinda deal.. this is very cool.

Well... they're clearly going to have GPS tracking built into them for navigation, probably cameras too so that they don't land in a pool. Tie those into a 4G stream and you're got enough tracking to recover stolen drones. Also, it seems like they won't spend that long on the ground anyway, so it's not as if there's much opportunity for a snatch and grab.

I can only imagine the amount of knife sets that would appear in front of people's houses after a good night of solo drinking.

Give it a few years and large scale use, they'll not cost too much at all. That alone will significantly reduce the risk of tampering. Hell, as the computing behind it improves I could see these sort of things reaching mass adoption in cities the world over.

There was a video a while ago of Pizza hut doing the same thing, but it seems much more suited to Amazon's business model and current delivery methods.

current quadcopter drones available for the civilian market dont have that much range nor do they have a significant large battery life span.

these drones have to fly relatively close to the street level where they can either run into power lines or be shot down by other people.

plus i think that some amazon users are going to keep the drones for shit and giggles.

and it all depends on where the drone drops your package.
it could be 5 feet apart from where you thought you would send it a.k.a your neighbours garden or on your rooftop.

so this is a bit overly enthusiastic for a international company.

rhizhim:
current quadcopter drones available for the civilian market dont have that much range nor do they have a significant large battery life span.

these drones have to fly relatively close to the street level where they can either run into power lines or be shot down by other people.

plus i think that some amazon users are going to keep the drones for shit and giggles.

and it all depends on where the drone drops your package.
it could be 5 feet apart from where you thought you would send it a.k.a your neighbours garden or on your rooftop.

so this is a bit overly enthusiastic for a international company.

I would hazzard a guess that the drones will have cameras and will be piloted remotely? So they can see where they have to drop the package

Steven Bogos:

rhizhim:
current quadcopter drones available for the civilian market dont have that much range nor do they have a significant large battery life span.

these drones have to fly relatively close to the street level where they can either run into power lines or be shot down by other people.

plus i think that some amazon users are going to keep the drones for shit and giggles.

and it all depends on where the drone drops your package.
it could be 5 feet apart from where you thought you would send it a.k.a your neighbours garden or on your rooftop.

so this is a bit overly enthusiastic for a international company.

I would hazzard a guess that the drones will have cameras and will be piloted remotely? So they can see where they have to drop the package

thats cool. now they can get lost while trying to figure out where to fly since most people rely on their knowledge of the street layouts.

plus i dont think that amazon would willingly hire one single random joe to fly one package at a time when that same random koe could deliver 5 or more in one route.

rhizhim:

Steven Bogos:

rhizhim:
current quadcopter drones available for the civilian market dont have that much range nor do they have a significant large battery life span.

these drones have to fly relatively close to the street level where they can either run into power lines or be shot down by other people.

plus i think that some amazon users are going to keep the drones for shit and giggles.

and it all depends on where the drone drops your package.
it could be 5 feet apart from where you thought you would send it a.k.a your neighbours garden or on your rooftop.

so this is a bit overly enthusiastic for a international company.

I would hazzard a guess that the drones will have cameras and will be piloted remotely? So they can see where they have to drop the package

thats cool. now they can get lost while trying to figure out where to fly since most people rely on their knowledge of the street layouts.

plus i dont think that amazon would willingly hire one single random joe to fly one package at a time when that same random koe could deliver 5 or more in one route.

I think it more likely that navigation would be automatic based first on coordinates and then on software recognition of things like the front door. But I also think that someone would be monitoring the process - kind of like watching security cameras - so that human intervention could be applied when necessary(alerting the police to tampering, the person ordering lives in an van sitting in a field, etc).

Something as simple as delivering to an apartment will be difficult to accomplish with this, so I doubt it'll go beyond an initial testing phase. It seems like a joke, more than anything.
I will admit that it did give me a tingle and a sense of finally being in an advanced technological age, moreso than smartphones or the internet.

Make a drone that can lift me and fly me around instead.

I'm interested to see how many of these actually do get shot down. And whether or not this delivery is actually cheaper after a while or a hell of a lot more expensive.

Smilomaniac:
Something as simple as delivering to an apartment will be difficult to accomplish with this, so I doubt it'll go beyond an initial testing phase. It seems like a joke, more than anything.
I will admit that it did give me a tingle and a sense of finally being in an advanced technological age, moreso than smartphones or the internet.

Make a drone that can lift me and fly me around instead.

Where I live, you usually get a notice that tells you to pick up the package in front office. It seems pretty doable atleast in Southern California.

Steven Bogos:

rhizhim:
current quadcopter drones available for the civilian market dont have that much range nor do they have a significant large battery life span.

these drones have to fly relatively close to the street level where they can either run into power lines or be shot down by other people.

plus i think that some amazon users are going to keep the drones for shit and giggles.

and it all depends on where the drone drops your package.
it could be 5 feet apart from where you thought you would send it a.k.a your neighbours garden or on your rooftop.

so this is a bit overly enthusiastic for a international company.

I would hazzard a guess that the drones will have cameras and will be piloted remotely? So they can see where they have to drop the package

Hmm, Little remote controlled drones with camera flying about everywhere? What could possibly go wrong?

Actually, different sortof concern here. It doesn't appear to have a real front or back, and has multiple propellers to keep it aloft, but...how exactly is it steering?

When they use GPS coordinates for the rough direction and a signal sent by a smartphone for point landing, I can really see that working.

And thus daily flight begins. Its always more profitable with item deliveries than people at first, and then it becomes a local flight-mobile.

Smilomaniac:
Something as simple as delivering to an apartment will be difficult to accomplish with this, so I doubt it'll go beyond an initial testing phase. It seems like a joke, more than anything.
I will admit that it did give me a tingle and a sense of finally being in an advanced technological age, moreso than smartphones or the internet.

Make a drone that can lift me and fly me around instead.

delivering stuff straight to your balcony. yeah, id love that!

ex951753:
Hmm, Little remote controlled drones with camera flying about everywhere? What could possibly go wrong?

Nothing. Nothing at all. Now please go back to your matrix, erm, i mean virtual reality game.

Chaosritter:
When they use GPS coordinates for the rough direction and a signal sent by a smartphone for point landing, I can really see that working.

GPS is actaully VERY precise. Its just that civilians do not get acess to precise coordinates. Actually the sattelites randomize the localtion a bit when sending the signal intentionally, thats why standing still you can be "jumping around". this is intentional and is made so that civilians wouldnt build a GPS guided missiles.
If amazon has acess to precise GPS (doubtful), then they can do a lot of precision landing with that. if they combine it with sattelite visual to crosscheck the GPS, they can autmate pretty much anything there. Thing is, private company wont get acess to either of the two.

Is it April already?

What about the weather? I take it they can handle a little breeze.
But anything else could be an issue.
And someplaces have some rules for these things. like: don't fly above people or don't fly outside visible range.

And how do they verify delivery?

Yeah no.
Unless people have special drone mailboxes so those things have a fixed place where the package is safe to deliver to, I see packages getting stolen left and right, deliveries on rooftops of skyscrapers, in pools and in the middle of streets.

Maybe they could deliver them to mail offices with special drone landing spots where people can get them after verifying their identity or something like some sort of drone delivery airport.
Order which center to deliver to, go there and immediately get your order sounds kinda doable.
I don't see those things flying to private homes though.

FalloutJack:
Actually, different sortof concern here. It doesn't appear to have a real front or back, and has multiple propellers to keep it aloft, but...how exactly is it steering?

The same way most basic civilian drones with multiple rotors do, adjusting the speed of certain rotors to induce the desired momentum via the torque produced by the propellers becoming imbalanced.

Ed130:

FalloutJack:
Actually, different sortof concern here. It doesn't appear to have a real front or back, and has multiple propellers to keep it aloft, but...how exactly is it steering?

The same way most basic civilian drones with multiple rotors do, adjusting the speed of certain rotors to induce the desired momentum via the torque produced by the propellers becoming imbalanced.

Well, as I hadn't been up to date on drones lately, I didn't know that. But ummm...well, let's just say it's good to know the radius of delivery is only ten miles. It's a good idea, but I think a stiff breeze could knock it way off course if that's it's mode of steering. Bit different from the control of a helicopter.

JackyG:
I'm interested to see how many of these actually do get shot down. And whether or not this delivery is actually cheaper after a while or a hell of a lot more expensive.

My guess it will be way more expensive. You can load up van and do multiple deliveries as opposed to a single one. The cost of insurance on one of those drones it going to be massive.

FalloutJack:

Ed130:

FalloutJack:
Actually, different sortof concern here. It doesn't appear to have a real front or back, and has multiple propellers to keep it aloft, but...how exactly is it steering?

The same way most basic civilian drones with multiple rotors do, adjusting the speed of certain rotors to induce the desired momentum via the torque produced by the propellers becoming imbalanced.

Well, as I hadn't been up to date on drones lately, I didn't know that. But ummm...well, let's just say it's good to know the radius of delivery is only ten miles. It's a good idea, but I think a stiff breeze could knock it way off course if that's it's mode of steering. Bit different from the control of a helicopter.

Not really that far removed from actual heli's, the Chinook uses a similar system but with two rotors instead of the 4/8 of civilian models.

Besides the FAA will be creating guidelines for what weather you could operate in and modern drones are surprisingly hard to crash unless you are doing something retarded/awesome like pulling off a re-creation of the Star Wars trench run in poor conditions.

Ed130:

FalloutJack:

Ed130:

The same way most basic civilian drones with multiple rotors do, adjusting the speed of certain rotors to induce the desired momentum via the torque produced by the propellers becoming imbalanced.

Well, as I hadn't been up to date on drones lately, I didn't know that. But ummm...well, let's just say it's good to know the radius of delivery is only ten miles. It's a good idea, but I think a stiff breeze could knock it way off course if that's it's mode of steering. Bit different from the control of a helicopter.

Not really that far removed from actual heli's, the Chinook uses a similar system but with two rotors instead of the 4/8 of civilian models.

Besides the FAA will be creating guidelines for what weather you could operate in and modern drones are surprisingly hard to crash unless you are doing something retarded/awesome like pulling off a re-creation of the Star Wars trench run in poor conditions.

You make a highly-valid point. Can't have them accidentally knocking into people's houses or something.

I foresee a large number or small electric helicopter components coming up for sale online in the near future.

WAIT A SEC! Oh crap Terminator judgement day is coming!!

"Rudolph the red nosed strike drone..."
"Oh Christmas Drone, Oh Christmas Drone..."
"I'm dreaming of a drone Christmas..."

Now all we need is some artist to draw Santa's sled being pulled by predator drones.

Are you naughty or nice? Naughty children will get ... EXTERMINATED!!!

Maybe they're working on building an automated robotic workforce because their abysmal working conditions are putting off anyone who has ever worked there before. I know I wouldn't go back if they paid me double.

Strazdas:

GPS is actaully VERY precise. Its just that civilians do not get acess to precise coordinates. Actually the sattelites randomize the localtion a bit when sending the signal intentionally, thats why standing still you can be "jumping around". this is intentional and is made so that civilians wouldnt build a GPS guided missiles.
If amazon has acess to precise GPS (doubtful), then they can do a lot of precision landing with that. if they combine it with sattelite visual to crosscheck the GPS, they can autmate pretty much anything there. Thing is, private company wont get acess to either of the two.

That is still in place? I thought they lifted that ban a few years ago

loa:
Yeah no.
Unless people have special drone mailboxes so those things have a fixed place where the package is safe to deliver to, I see packages getting stolen left and right, deliveries on rooftops of skyscrapers, in pools and in the middle of streets.

It depends on where you live, I guess. The video showed a very middle to upper-middle class suburban home. There would be little difference between a drone delivery and a normal delivery where I live. I don't get home until around 5:30 pm and routinely have packages waiting for me on my front porch. I've never had a single thing stolen. I think Amazon would just need to adjust allowable locations depending on the number of stolen packages.

But, yeah, if something like this became normal, you probably would see special small "landing pads" on roofs or whatever.

forget people stealing them.......what happens when one of them crash lands on a busy highway or street in front of a large truck and causes a pile up with multiple deaths.

So we're finally gonna see robot drones flying around as part of our normal daily routine? Awesome!

And at least they are not the spying kind, these things are actually useful. But you do have to wonder when the first report is gonna come in of one of these things falling out of the sky and throe your window or car.

This reeks the makings of a new type of piracy... Given how light they have to be and how they're unmanned, I'd say it's going to be rather easy to knock one of these things out of the sky and claim whatever items they're carrying. They could put in self-defense mechanisms, but by then people will have the wireless encrpyptions figured out, and instead hijack and safely land them.

If a drone malfunctions and crashes into civilians the media will have a field day. Otherwise this is a really cool idea and PR stunt.

Ok having read the comments you are all missing the real fun here the calls to customer service.

"Amazon customer support this is *insert name* how can I help you?"

"Your fucking drone put my package on my roof!! It is a 3 story building how the hell am I supposed to get that down?"

"ummmmm...."

There are so many problems pointed out here with obviously no solutions. I mean, they put out a minute and twenty second video about it, so we effectively know all they've put into it, the design specs, and anything else that can be thought of. I mean, it's not like Amazon has an entire R&D team working on this, figuring out potential problems with this and creating viable solutions. That'd just be crazy.

Honestly, I think people are getting a bit ahead of themselves with the criticism here. How many of these do you think people are honestly going to shoot down? How often does someone see a car in the street and fire a couple rounds into it? These will mostly be operating in urban areas, so shooting at it will obviously draw a lot of unwanted attention.

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