Drones

Amazon Turns to Drones as Latest Market Domination Effort

Octocopters are heading your way, someday, if the FAA can get its act together

|


Today is Cyber Monday, the day where all lovers of Internet commerce look for online holiday deals in the follow up to the Black Friday post-Thanksgiving (barely post-Thanksgiving nowadays) specials. Amazon is offering up all sorts of deals.

For Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos, now seemed like a good time to unveil their latest attempts to improve the online shopping experience: Drones. In an interview with 60 minutes Sunday, Bezos introduced Charlie Rose to their "octocopters," drones they are hoping to use to deliver purchases to customers within 30 minutes of them pressing the "buy" button online.

The service will be called Amazon Prime Air. They've already put up a page for it with a video demonstration and short FAQ:

Bezos notes in the interview that the main barrier to offering the service right is that the Federal Aviation Administration does not yet permit private commercial drone use until it hammers out all the regulations. It may be years before the FAA gets guidelines in place, but Amazon says they'll be ready to go once they do.

In the 60 minutes interview, Bezos says the drone deliveries will originate directly from their "fulfillment centers" (distribution centers) and probably will range about 10 miles at the start. That would be useful for anybody living near their nearly 100 warehouses, but it will still leave lots of folks out. To me it seems like the people in rural, out-of-the-way places would benefit more from drone deliveries than those in urban centers, because of how costly and inefficient it is to send trucks out there. But I suppose you have to learn to drone-deliver copies of Fifty Shades of Grey to your neighbors without dropping them on anybody's heads before stretching those propellers.

Presumably, if they're able to work out the drones with the FAA, Reason fans will be able to shop online at Amazon, have their purchases delivered by octocopters, and support us all at the same time.