“The hard part here is putting in all the redundancy, all the reliability, all the systems you need to say, ‘Look, this thing can’t land on somebody’s head while they’re walking around their neighborhood’.”
— Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com CEO, on the mega-retailer’s delivery-drone plan. Bezos unveiled the project Sunday on “60 Minutes,” stressing that delivering packages using octocopters labeled Amazon PrimeAir is “years away” and will, of course, be subject to FAA rules. (The FAA has proposed the opening up of U.S. airspace to civilian drones in 2015, but who knows when it will actually happen?) Still, Bezos said, the project “is not science fiction. … It will work.”
As we’ve written, potential uses for commercial drones include scientific study, helping farmers track their crops, or news-gathering. The Amazon drones could be seen similarly and as simply useful.
But reactions to Bezos’ announcement were more complicated. They ranged from amazement (that Bezos, he does think big: newspaper, space company, a giant clock) to concern to ridicule. Some notable thoughts from the Twitterati and more: What about security and liability (Bezos is thinking about it, see main quote); this would make same-day delivery on the ground by Google, eBay and others seem quaint; what about cost and energy-efficiency and the ability to scale; what about the UPS drivers and pizza boys; and … is it April Fools’ Day?
Photo: Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos revealed Sunday that his company is planning to someday use drones to deliver small packages. (AFP/Getty Images)