Amazon’s Delivery Drone System Takes Shape

December 7, 2015         By: Steven Anderson

When Amazon Prime Air first emerged as a concept, it sparked a firestorm of discussion, ideas, and concern along with it.

The idea of small remote-controlled aircraft delivering small items with an aircraft’s speed was ludicrous, yet tempting. Some thought it a shameless trolling for publicity, but the idea rolled on, and now we’re getting our first looks at an actual Amazon delivery drone.

Painted in an eye-catching mix of blue and white with some orange and the Amazon logo, the drones will have a range of about 15 miles in a single trip, flying at 400 feet above the ground. Small items can be contained within the fuselage itself, while larger items can be suspended underneath the drone.

The drones are said to be sufficiently large, able to readily handle issues of weather, as well as bird strikes, and the end result is the kind of world-changing event that brings opportunity and concern. With this system, Amazon is expected to be able to reduce delivery time to just 30 minutes in some cases.

If this works, it’s going to represent a fundamental change in the way we shop, and do plenty of other things as well. Imagine Netflix’s DVD delivery system with drone aircraft; instead of a two-day lag to get it in the mailbox, return it to Netflix, and then mail out a new one, the lag might be reduced to as little as an hour or so.

That could turn movie nights into the ultimate in on-demand experiences, with people able to request two to three different movies from a Netflix queue in the course of a night.

It doesn’t stop there, either; if Amazon can carry a DVD or the like, imagine what restaurants could do with this. Surely a pizza could fit into an Amazon drone fairly readily, and be used to route food to users’ houses. If a pizza could fit, what else could? A burger with fries? Chateaubriand and twice-baked potatoes? Dessert or wine for the meal? All of it is possible, and that opens up an even greater field.

Essentially, users would be able to place orders online, use any of a variety of payment technologies to pay for the food or other items, and then receive that item by drone delivery by remote. It’s even better when used with a mobile payment system; not only can it be paid for from anywhere, it can be received anywhere.

Camping somehow gets better when you can have four-star cuisine by that campfire, and knowing that a bottle of wine is a quick order away makes stargazing a viable date night again.

We’re in the earliest stages of making this happen, of course, so we’ve got a good ways to go before it actually comes to pass. If it does actually come out the way it might, though, it represents a fundamental change in our way of life, and the potential to never have to leave the house again.