Amazon Pushes Forward In Their Quest To Bring Amazon Prime Air To Life

In December of 2013, Amazon teased the world with the thought of delivering (small) packages to your doorstep using drones, as first reported here. It got a lot of people talking. But since that initial announcement from Amazon, there hasn't been any indication that it was real. Was it purely a publicity stunt? If it was, it was a good one. But what if it was real?Drones have been popping up in the news quite often, usually because they are pushing the boundaries of what "rules" the FAA currently has in place. Because there is no clear-cut law, individuals and companies continue to use the helicopters for filming and photography purposes. 

Last week Amazon filed an exemption with the FAA under section 333 of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act, which limits the use of drones for commercial purposes.

To receive the exemptions, Amazon must show that their UAS operations will not adversely affect safety, or provide at least an equal level of safety to the rules from which they seek the exemption. - Alison Duquette. Spokeswoman for the FAA

Whether or not Amazon will be given special permissions by the FAA is yet to be seen. But it will certainly be interesting to see this idea turn into reality. 

[Via Forbes and Fedscoop]

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David Kleinot's picture

I was giggling maniacally do to how awesome this is! My only question is, what happens if I order a DJI Phantom?

Kristjan Järv's picture

Then it comes over by itself :D. No but I believe they have a size/weight limit to their products that they ship.

Kristjan Järv's picture

Imagine if there are like thousands of these flying around.

jeff calbom's picture

Well, if it does get approved, one BB gun and someone will have year-round Christmas presents.

Scott Mosley's picture

Was thinking exactly that! But they would certainly equip these things with cameras and tracking, just as easy to steal off of someones doorstep, but this way they would know a package never made it to you.
Maybe they will add a tactical defense system, to thwart attackers. Haha

Maarten Deckx's picture

Forget the presents. Get the bb-gun and a prepaid cellphone internet card, toss the drones on e-bay and make a nice living.
What the drones are carrying is only the icing on the cake man...only the icing. :-)
I kid ofcourse, but what i do wonder about is the practicalities about this way of delivery.
For instance:
- what with the sign for receiving?
- if the drone drops the package on my driveway (as opposed to the deliveryman putting it in a mailbox when im not at home) and someone else takes it, who pays for the goods?
-... more such things

I would very much like to be able to choose how delivery is done before i start having drones landing in my backyard, scaring my dog (who will almost certainly use the drone as a chewtoy :-) )

The idea is nice but im a bit afraid towards the practical handling

Lee Morris's picture

This can't be real. Best marketing scheme ever?

Adam Ottke's picture

No, seriously... And this isn't just a pet project of Amazon's. They're serious about this... Do you know how much money they'd save moving 86% of their shipments in-house and fulfilling those in 30 minutes or less??? Oh my goodness... Skim through this... Sure, there's only research being promised/discussed, but this is past the point of thinking this would be fun... file:///Users/aottke/Downloads/Amazon_Prime_Air_-_Exemption_Rulemaking.pdf

Michael Mellon's picture

Apparently they've been spending a lot of time and money figuring out the logistics in their warehouses.

Juan Gamundi's picture

I'm wondering about bad weather condition such as storm, hurrican, or tornado. :p

Michael Mellon's picture

Or even trees! Without someone actually controlling the heli, there is no way to stop it from crashing into a tree.

David Kleinot's picture

Maybe they only fly over roads... Then no trees to contend with until they get to a drive way, in most cases...
I thought it'd be easier to have a "mobile command center". Ie a special amazon truck pulls into a development and the driver loads up 10 drones and they fly out drop off and fly back ( I'm imagining the driver screaming "fly my pretties!!!"). Then on to the next stop. Obviously not 30 minute delivery, but I'm imaging that's the holy grail...

Jennifer Kelley's picture

Considering I haven't received mail in 18 months because the post office has decided I've moved, I'm all for drones.

Christian Berens's picture

I remember seeing this on 60 minutes and my engineering mind went crazy, so many issues and hurdles, but I hope they succeed. The biggest issues is theft or misuse. Theft of your item and theft of the drone lol

I'm sure there have been multiple meetings on covering multiple issues though

Michael Joseph's picture

This is the future folks. Drones will fly at 500 feet, and be smart enough to know and sense their surroundings, ensuring safe delivery. Amazon will add $400m from increasing prime service from 79 to 99. They would add $2.4b if increased to $200p/y. If they are able to ship 80% of items in 30 minutes or less, with free delivery (w subscription), their core sales will EXPLODE. And the floodgates will be opened. Surveillance drones, delivery drones, enforcement drones, and so on. Heres an idea for young entrepenuers, buy a drone w go pro and record local events. Your welcome.

Michael Joseph
Ny, Ny