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Amazon Delivery Drones? What’s Next? Teleportation?

amazon droneAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos both stunned and amused the world last night when he revealed his drone delivery plan on 60 Minutes. Yes, drones. It’s called Amazon Prime Air. A whole fleet of flying critters designed to pick up, carry and drop off your package within a half hour without any humans involved.

Is this April Fool’s Day?

I applaud their creative thinking but there are so many things wrong with this idea I don’t know where to begin.

Let’s start with safety. The first time one of these things hits a person on the ground, breaks a window or scares off a cat Amazon’s going to get sued. Next, we have all the people who are going to call the police when they see an unidentified object buzzing past their house. Aliens or terrorists – either way, it’s scary.

Let’s pause here to look at the video from Amazon.

I’m wondering about those plastic boxes. They look expensive. Do they have to be returned to Amazon? Does the drone come back and get them? It’s not like a cardboard box that can be recycled.

Next is the segmentation. The drones can carry around five pounds and have limited range. So if you don’t live within a half hour of a distribution center this won’t work for you. Or maybe we all live within a half hour of a center and don’t know it. . . it’s possible. Either way, only some people could use the service sometimes.

What this reminds me of is Zorro’s Pizza. When I was a child, we used to go to Wildwood in the summer and dine on Mack’s Pizza. It was the best. But they didn’t deliver. So some smart business man came up with a business plan to get people to order from him. Delivery men dressed as Zorro. Instead of driving up to the house, they’d park a block away and run up to your door, cape flowing, lots of drama. It was cool. The pizza wasn’t that great but we all ordered because we wanted to see Zorro running down the street.

If Amazon does launch this program (they say they will in the next 5 years if they can get past the pesky Federal government) people will use it just to see the drone land in their yard.

I wonder if this is a 24-hour service? If so, it would be the perfect way to get a book or movie in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep.

What do you think? Is Amazon Prime Air a viable business practice that will improve sales or just a fly-by-night idea that won’t come to pass or won’t last?