The feasibility of Amazon Prime air drones

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The feasibility of Amazon Prime air drones
Cartoon displays the possible ironies of the potential  Amazon Prime Air program, which could deliver products via drone. (Nate Beeler/MCT)
Cartoon displays the possible ironies of the potential Amazon Prime Air program, which could deliver products via drone. (Nate Beeler/TNS)

Staff Writer

When CEO Jeff Bezos announced in late 2013 Amazon’s plans to use drones for package delivery, the company said that the project would be on hold until federal regulators approved of using the unmanned aircraft in public. After proposing its idea to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Amazon has regretfully acknowledged, however, that its Amazon Prime Air program will remain grounded in the United States. The FAA told ABC News that “the operators of commercial unmanned aircraft would need to see the drone with ‘unaided vision,” meaning that it would have to see the drones without help from a camera and that “small drones must not fly over people.” The FAA’s framework would also set weight limits on the aircraft.

Although many speculate that drones will become the world’s future and open new fields for people to pursue, others view them as threats to society. The White House reported about three months ago that a drone was found by White House guards in the backyard of the president’s Oval Office. Although the drone was allegedly unarmed, and the incident was apparently a civilian mistake, the fact that a drone could infiltrate the White House’s backyard is unnerving. That is not the only incident. As a United Airlines plane took off from the runway one month ago at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, CNN media interviewed some passengers aboard the plane who recalled spotting a drone that was taking digital photos of the commercial plane. The plane executed an emergency landing, sparking many new regulations about the regions and altitudes at which it is acceptable to fly drones. As of today, airports and airplanes being manufactured and produced in U.S. territory are installing a new device that would sense interference from any flying drone and would be able to shut down the drone before it becomes a danger and threat to people.

Bezos also told the FAA that the drones in the Prime Air pilot program would be autonomous, put in motion by a set of instructions and GPS coordinates. Amazon speculated that the expediency of delivery would be the cornerstone of its Prime Air program, through which it envisions that packages could arrive within 30 to 45 minutes of the customer placing the order. And indeed, there appears to be an appetite for that type of service since it would be more convenient than driving to the local hardware store to buy tools. According to the New York Times, a recent survey of U.S. consumers found that 77 percent of respondents would be willing to pay extra for drone deliveries that arrived within an hour, and four in five said that expedited drone delivery to their doors would make them more inclined to shop with an online retailer. University High School (UHS) student Vijay Sachet (Sr.) said, “Amazon drones are insanely awesome. At first thought, this service brings forth positives and negatives. Obviously, it is a great convenience, is much more efficient and is environmentally friendly, but it also raises issues of privacy, and security, as well as the potential for mistakes and even injuries. However, I am sure that by the time this project comes to fruition, Amazon will have ironed out these concerns and will have laid a good structure and organization for its success. Drones would give online stores a big leap. I think that the future of the world is drones and that nobody will drive to buy things anymore, and errands will all be accomplished online with ease.”

I believe that the drones are going to be the future of this world, especially given the amount of effort that corporations and colleges are putting into that field. Although there are many tight restrictions now, trials and demonstrations in Europe could possibly influence the United States to adopt the widespread use of drones. Drones could possibly close out jobs for delivery companies like USPS, FedEx and UPS. Just as doubters previously assumed that the Google car, the first autonomous car used in an urban setting, would only ever be a “concept” car and not a reality, those doubting drones could find themselves inhabiting a world full of them in the future.

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