Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos announced back in December of 2013 that the company was testing out drones to deliver packages. It seemed like a strange, dystopian concept that wouldn’t actually ever take off. However, in March of this year the drones were tested for the first time in the United States. In California during Amazon’s MARS conference, a drone delivered a package of sunscreen and took back off again.
Drones are no longer a distant thought; they are rooted in reality. While these technical advances are impressive, they carry heavy questions with them. For example, is it a good idea to let drones deliver amazon packages to people’s backyards? I think the answer is an absolute yes. Deliveries will be faster, the drones will be well maintained, and it will create more jobs in the technology field.
People often complain about how long the shipping process takes. Even now with Amazon Prime’s one day delivery, it still isn’t quick enough for some. Amazon’s answer to this is drone devilry through its program Prime Air. The company claims that packages can be delivered in 30 minutes or less. This is truly a game changer.
The truth is, FEDEX and UPS simply cannot achieve that kind of flash delivery because they are on roads. Traffic, construction, accidents, and a number of other factors hinder ground delivery from delivering any faster than 24 hours. In the air, none of these things exist. You won’t ever hit a red light in the air, so time factors like that are irrelevant. Amazon also has to relay on these third-party companies (FEDEX, UPS) to deliver their products. The drones will be owned by Amazon, making the delivery much quicker.
Since they are attempting to cut the middle man out, shipping costs should plummet also. Some may be concerned about the air traffic, however this will not be a problem. Drones are monitored by the FAA. This means that any activity made by the drones will be monitored and evaluated by them, so air traffic will be controlled. Safety is also a highly vocal concern from people who against this drone service.
However, under the FAA drones are only allowed to fly in daylight, and in proper weather conditions. So, for example, drones cannot fly in rain, snow, or icy conditions. They must also only fly in low winds and good visibility. The drones will also feature “sense and avoid” technology to avoid colliding with poles, wires, traffic lights, houses, etc. Currently, pre-trials for Prime Air are happening in the UK, where Amazon is collecting information on how to improve the program.
Multiple countries, weather conditions, and other factors are being tested on the drones now, to ensure that the drones will be in the best possible shape to fly safely. Plus, this program won’t be ready to go commercial for a while, so technology will advance to aid in the safety department. Another major complaint from some people who oppose drone delivery is that they are noisy and quite large. If you’ve seen a video demonstration of the Prime Air drones, you would know that both of these things are true. However, technology is rapidly growing, and I believe that both the size and the noise of the drones will shrink.
Another reason why Prime Air is a good idea is all the jobs it will bring to the technology field. Prime Air is currently hiring many engineers to aid this program into growth. After the program is established, Prime Air will want to hire “pilots” for the drones, as well as build bases for the drones to be loaded, charged, and maintained, which will foster hundreds, possibly thousands of jobs. The drones will also constantly be updated, so the demand for jobs will stay steady. Currently, the FAA requires human eye contact to be on drones at all times, so figuring out a way around this rule will be a job in itself.
Overall, Amazon’s Prime Air is a beneficial idea because deliveries of packages will be quick, the drones will be well maintained for safety, and it will create more jobs in the technology field. Amazon isn’t the only company to start taking drones seriously. Google’s parent company Alphabet, and UPS are both testing drone delivery in other countries much like Amazon Air. Even if the Amazon Air program doesn’t fully develop for a few more years, when it does it will revolutionize the way we view and participate in online shopping.