When Amazon revealed that it was working on Prime Air, a programme that would use aerial drones to deliver shoebox-sized orders within 30 minutes, many people got excited. Many other people pointed out that Prime Air was impractical, fanciful and most likely illegal – nothing more than a publicity stunt to get some cheap headlines for Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos.
Well, Amazon says that just isn’t true, and that it’s deadly serious about flying packages right up to your front door. In his annual letter to Amazon shareholders, Bezos said that fifth- and sixth-generation models of delivery drones are currently being tested, and that seventh- and eighth-generation models are already being designed.
The problem, in our opinion, isn’t so much with the technology as the legality of loosing a fleet of small unmanned aircraft into the skies around major urban centres. Quite simply, the authorities don’t want a bunch of octo-copter drones flying around until they’ve decided they’re safe – and that’s the biggest problem faced by Amazon. The company’s Prime Air FAQ, however, suggests that the legislation may be in place as soon as 2015 – and when it is, they’ll be ready. Fly, my pretties, fly!