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Drone World – Amazon and the drone delivery network

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos announced this past Sunday (12/1/13) that his 21st century version of Wal Mart has been considering using drones to deliver small packages within 30 minutes to certain households. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Bezos guessed that this system might be in place in the not too distant future.

“I know it can’t be before 2015, because that’s the earliest we could get the rules from the FAA. My guess is that’s, that’s probably a little optimistic. But could it be, you know, four, five years? I think so. It will work, and it will happen, and it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”

Rightly so, this caused a degree of ridicule from all sectors of the web, here’s Charles Stross pointing out why this might be a bit far fetched-

That being said, I recently enjoyed a TED Talk with Andrea Raptopoulos about using a very similar delivery network to bring food and medicine to inaccessible parts of Africa. Companies are developing this technology… so why not one of the largest companies on earth?

James Ball at The Guardian helped to deflate the enthusiasm for it and bring a little bit of reality to the situation. Calling it little more than click bait, he sees it as a distraction from the very real stories about  the Panorama investigation which concluded that working conditions in Amazon’s factories could cause mental and physical illness, or the story that in spite of £7 billion in UK sales, they have paid no UK corporation tax.

Ball goes on to state that this was little more than a cynical ploy to boost Cyber Monday sales by getting their name into a major media outlet. This is, I think, Amazon’s reason for having Bezos do the Charlie Rose interview. The technology is incredible, and I do believe that after 2015, when the rules on these devices are relaxed by the FAA, we’ll see a lot more businesses start to use drones. For good and ill.

Here’s the clip that aired on 60 Minutes

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