Drones to take over shipping methods


Courtesy of Anabeth Bostrup ’15

The days of slow-moving package deliveries may soon be over.  In the near future, Amazon Prime Air customers may be able to receive their orders not only by land, air and sea, but also by drone.

Courtesy of Anabeth Bostrup '15
Courtesy of Anabeth Bostrup ’15

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS), will fly from nearby distribution sites to customers’ designated locations. Upon arrival, they will drop off packages, according to amazon.com.
Prime Air has the potential to revolutionize delivery methods, increasing both speed and efficiency for its customers. Formally named octocopters, these drones will allow customers to place an order on amazon.com and receive their purchases within 30 minutes.
“I think that drones represent a new era of technology,” Convent of the Sacred Heart sophomore Brooke Wilkens said. “They have the potential to completely change our online shopping.”
Due to pending safety regulations, the public release of the Prime Air program has yet to be determined. First, drones must be approved by the Federal Aerial Administration (FAA). The FAA will then determine safety guidelines, including what individuals should do upon discovering an abandoned or broken drone. Mr. Jeff Bezos, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Amazon, believes a 2015 release date is the best possible scenario according to cnn.com.
Many customers have voiced safety concerns about this proposed system. The Amazon Prime Air online informational page has addressed these matters.
“The FAA is actively working on rules and an approach for unmanned aerial vehicles that will prioritize public safety. Safety will be our top priority, and our vehicles will be built with multiple redundancies and designed to commercial aviation standards,” according to amazon.com.
According to cnn.com, the drones will fly about 300 feet from the ground within a ten-mile flying radius from Amazon distribution sites. This regulation means that residents of large cities are more likely to be eligible for Prime Air delivery than those living in remote areas.
Mr. Karl Haeseler, Director of Educational Technology, believes that drones are not as dangerous as critics suggest.
“In my opinion the Amazon drone controversy is mainly a publicity stunt,” Mr. Haeseler said. “We are many years away from a sky filled with delivery drones.  And it is not just the technology part that has to be developed still, it’s also the laws and infrastructure that require a lot of time and money to make Amazon’s vision a reality.”
According to cnn.com, Bezos estimated that drones would carry packages weighing up to five pounds. Thus, drones could transport roughly 86% of all Amazon deliveries.
Amazon has released a video on its website featuring information as well as footage of the new delivery system.
– Alexandra Dimitri, Staff Writer