News Article

Weirdness: Amazon Plans Drone Air Delivery Service for 2015

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

We suggest designing them to look like propeller blocks

As technology advances, those slightly silly sci-fi ideas we see in video games start to creep into real life. Following an announcement today it looks like, within a couple of years, you will have a little drone aircraft fly your Amazon deliveries to your house. It's awesome and slightly scary at the same time.

The first target for rolling out the system is the US in 2015, with the retail giant capitalising on a planned relaxation of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)'s rules, allowing new unmanned craft the right to take up airspace. The trial will naturally have limitations initially, with relatively small packages to suburban areas the initial testing ground — the claim is that some deliveries will arrive within 30 minutes of an order bring placed. Amazon wants the presence of the drones to be "as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today".

If you have a large garden and like staring out of windows waiting for deliveries, this could be the service for you — though we assume some sort of email / social network / SMS text will tell you when the package arrives. We do agree with others that this could prompt a lucrative new criminal market in thievery, as naughty people look out for Amazon drones and grab them before owners have a chance to retrieve them from outside the house.

While not Nintendo news, the thought of ordering some kind of Propeller Mario or Propeller Block plush toy to be delivered by a drone is too fun to ignore. If you don't believe this is real, meanwhile, check out the video below.

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User Comments (78)



rjejr said:

Amazon will be the front line of defense when the zombie apocalypse comes and the drones are piloted by laser equipped sharks.



unrandomsam said:

Probably NSA paying for it. Good way of getting what they want and getting people more bothered about getting stuff faster than being in a state similar to the old East Germany.



Phle said:

It's not going to happen, either they would be shot down or followed to the second the package is dropped on someones doorstep and then collected by the follower.



SpookyMeths said:

I can't see 2015. I think it will take at least 4 years to work out all of the security risks and logistics in this design, not to mention making it cost effective.

Even when implemented, this will be useful only for people who live relatively close to a warehouse and don't live in an apartment/condo.



Noonch said:

Looks expensive. How many of those plastic yellow Amazon boxes will end up taking up space in a landfill? But....gotta get that skate tool now.



Unit_DTH said:

Because 2 days is just way too long to wait for something! This is terrible, way to perpetuate the horrible impatience that runs so freely through all humans now a days! I want it now and I don't want to have to wait! This is another step toward our downfall… mark my words!



cammy said:

Now I'm thinking of Animal Crossing and the Villager shooting down Amazon Drones instead of Balloons...



sugarshack said:

While I don't believe following the drones will be an overly common problem, criminals could build identical looking drones with surveillance or explosives on them



edcomics said:

Actually, nothing is confirmed for 2015. I watched this broadcast last night on TV. The guy said 2015 is the earliest it could happen because that's when they'd receive the rules. He also said 2015 is "optimistic" and 4-5 years is probably likely... so that would be 2017-2018. Just gotta be careful when you say "confirmed."



heathenmagic said:

That fricking stupid! As if birds didn't have enough s**t to put up with nowadays, now they gotta dodge these lol!



Tasuki said:

I thought something like this was illegal. I read somewhere that Domino's Pizza was looking into something like that but they were stopped because it was illegal to fly something like that in city limits.

Regardless I can see the conspiracy theorists loving this thing.



NintyMan said:

"Prime air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today."

Imagine a city with dozens of these machines flying around. It sounds and looks spooky to me. This doesn't help with the very real concerns people have about the intrusiveness of today's technology and the organizations behind them.



Artwark said:

Only one problem, If it gets hit by accident, how does the package still get delivered?



N64ever said:

Sorry princess your 3DS got caught in a windstorm and blown to another castle.
Seriously we have enough traffic noise and things to look out for. Don't need drones dropping out of the sky or killing endangered birds.



Samurai_Goroh said:

Seriously had to check my calendar to see if this isn't April 1st. Oh well, a perfect spying drone, a bird killer, an aesthetical nuisance on the cityscape, a potential danger for manned aircrafts and something to enlarge the unemployment queue with Post Office and delivery companies workers. Guess that's progress for you.



DarkKirby said:

I understand how this could be a more cost effective way to deliver to less populated areas, but there are numerous problems I see with said service. For one, not everyone wants the package dropped outside their house, although I guess if backyard delivery was available it would become more desirable if your backyard was closed off. Also, with the addition of the plastic box and the supposed quick delivery, this looks to be an expensive service to pay for despite being cheap for Amazon itself (which is a business of course so I can hardly blame them).



Link-Hero said:

While I do see problems like weather conditions, drone/package size/weight limitations, possible chance of drone/package being stolen/targeted, certain places likes city's/apartment complexes can't use this, etc. Though it does seem to be a nice way to get what you need pretty quickly. It looks to be especially great for delivering stuff like emergency supplies.

Also, at least these drones will treat your package better then most delivery companies will ever do.



Rezalack said:

This was on 60 Minutes last night here in the US. The guy said the EARLIEST this could possibly happen would be 2015 and that isn't very likely. I'd be surprised if we see this before the next 10 years is up. They're going to have to go through a lot of regulations and tons of coding to get this thing perfect before it goes into action and it has to be perfect.

That being said.. I think it's a cool idea and wouldn't mind having same day delivery of games from Amazon. I wouldn't have to worry about having people steal my stuff though since I live out in the country with like.. 2 neighbors acres away. I can imagine living in an apartment or bad neighborhoods where people would steal your items.. or the whole delivery bot for that matter, lol. I'm sure they'll place some heavy federal laws much like the post office when and if this ever actually happens. We'll see.



Shworange said:

I think it could also be great as that annoying, insulting robot from Skyward Sword that picks up all the heavy stuff and delivers them for you.



ShadJV said:

I... Um... I don't even know how to respond to this... The future sorta scares me in more ways than one... x.x



Luna-Harmony said:

what about a 64inch lcd telle it would have tobe a big drone.
Also the plastic box how would amazon get them back.

Drone lands in backgarden Drone vs Cat .



YorkshireNed said:

sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Your package will end up at someones house 2 blocks away and then the drone crashes into a school bus.



KeatonTS said:

LOL people are going to be shooting these down and stealing the amazon boxes.



theblackdragon said:

how in the hell could this possibly be cost effective? i'm wondering what this sort of delivery is going to cost as opposed to plain old USPS shipping, lol.

that said, for people talking about others shooting them down to collect the packages — my guess is that (a) they're gonna have these puppies tagged with GPS locators and whatnot, and (b) it's gonna cost a pretty penny to replace 'em. The risks (getting busted and earning jailtime for stealing someone's mail and destroying an expensive piece of equipment — depending on how expensive determines whether it's a misdemeanor or felony iirc) will probably outrun the potential gains for this sort of thing in terms of the average joe, and even so it's not like people don't already steal boxes off of doorsteps, out of mailboxes, or even straight out the back of trucks. look at Netflix, it's so easy to spot those little red envelopes and know there's a movie inside, and yet the service thrived (though i think Instant has kinda knocked it back a peg, lol) in the face of thieves. heck, i've seen stories in the news where the mailperson themselves just kept packages to take home. thieves are gonna steal no matter what, so Amazon may as well give the drone service a shot and see how it goes.



SuperSah said:

It looks pretty damn cool.

I can imagine thieves going for it though.

I think the way it drops the box is pretty cute though.



Great_Gonzalez said:

say goodbye to the high street! And I'd just like to say to everyone who says this is easy for thieves to steal from.. Is it not just as easy to knock a mailman on the head and nick a load of packages instead of just one? Is it not as easy to break into someone's house and nick whatever you want when they're not in?



Tertis said:

I don't see what's wrong with this. It might pose some problems in big cities, but we'll eventually have the problem worked out. Not to mention, 30 minute delivery? That's awesome. I could have a game shipped to me in the time it would take a pizza to get here!



Tertis said:

It's great to finally see all these futuristic concepts, like smartwatches, flexible displays and this, of course, start to actually form into real products rather than just science fiction. Here comes the future, guys.



MasterWario said:

I like the idea, but too many things can go wrong, and well, I'm not so sure I want these things flying around all over the place anyway.



bezerker99 said:

Nice publicity stunt right here on Cyber Monday. Well played, Amazon dot com. Well played.



Blue_Dread said:

Imagine some crazy farmer guy who hasn't been very up-to-date sees one of these coming towards him and shoots it with his shotgun? Good times...



MrMario02 said:

I think this will be AWESOME!!! Or at least until it gets boring OR terminators take over amazon and send everyone activated time bombs.



Darkness3131 said:

And in the year 2020, amazon plans to shot your packages up into space and have alien ships beam them into your hands.



MrMario02 said:

@Tertis Yeah. Especially when you consider Google glass. Also if Netflix does it too, I,ll order a pizza and Rent M&L:DT, FE:A, LM:DM and LOZ:OOT3D.



Blue_Dread said:

Soon other companies will catch onto this idea. Imagine a person sent someone an active bomb via air delivery? #disaster



FJOJR said:

Better start preparing for Judgement Day. I hear that John Connor guy knows a thing or two about this.



childofacid said:

Right... Let's shoot these down cause that's not highly illegal. Stealing someone's mail can cost you up to $250,000 in fines and jail time can total to around five years. Have fun with that.



Giygas_95 said:

I'm wondering what would happen if you sat outside waiting for your package and when it came you swiped the drone too. Guess they'd have trackers on those things!

Or maybe they would just look at the address of the house it was supposed to go to and then go from there.

Still, that's a neat video!



BlueNitrous said:

I can't wait for all the reports of random people shooting these things down to come rushing in!



SMW said:

Partner with GameFly and give a whole new meaning to the name, GameFly.



Intrepid said:

I feel it is easy to be negative and to focus solely on what could go wrong with such an idea, but the truth is that has not been tested yet,and we should give it a chance before bashing it.

Regarding theft of packages and using shotguns, it is just as easy to do that right NOW as it would be with a drone. In fact, it would be stupid to use a shotgun to shoot down one of these drones, as that would would easily bring attention to whoever fired it due to how loud they are. The replacement cost for these drones would also be a good deterrent.

Assuming the item broke in transit, or the item fell and was lost, it would be simple for Amazon to reimburse the buyer, and from how it looks in the video, that yellow box is latched on to the drone pretty well.

New ideas and inventions have always been met with derision and skepticism, but it would be pretty cool if Amazon could pull this off. I personally am excited to see where Amazon goes with this.



Aerona said:

I'm actually pretty optimistic about this... but I think it'll be a long time before this is even cheap enough to consider for most purchases.



Zombie_Barioth said:

Something like this would be great for times when you need a certain tool, part, or whatever right away so you can get things done. This will probably be more for Prime members than everyone else, which would both help cover costs and entice potential subscribers.

Employing these things won't be cheap but the cost should balance out a bit due to a lack of shipping and handling costs on their part and hopfully not needing too many replacements. They'll make a reasonable investment and hold onto them as long as possible like any other facility. A lot of places still use old PCs and CRT monitors.



Yadoking said:

Yeah, people are going to try and shoot them out of the sky for fun I bet. I foresee enraged customers.



FriedSquid said:

That's pretty insane, like, in a bad way and a good way. If they can perfect it and somehow eliminate all the dangers that come with an idea like that, I'd be all for it. But I don't know how this thing could run amidst bad weather like rain, wind, or hail. Still a very cool concept that I find interesting. It seems stupid at first, but you never know what inventions and technology will catch on and be accepted by the general public.

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