Shoot For Free Stuff: Amazon Prime Air, An Unmanned Flying Drone Powered Delivery Service

December 2, 2013


This is a brief video demonstration of Amazon Prime Air, an unmanned flying drone delivery service that Amazon would like to see rolled out in the future (as early as FAA regulations will allow, possibly 2015) for 30-minute delivery times. Will I shoot your drone out of the air and claim your new PS4 game as my own? Absolutely. Will I do the same thing with your sister's tampons and candy bars? You better believe it. It's like Christmas -- you might not like what's inside, but it's still fun opening packages.

Keep going for the what if I don't have an Amazon warehouse within 30 minutes? Or why can't the pizza boy just pick up my package on the way?

Thanks to everyone who sent this, who agree as long as there are slingshots and bb-guns, this will never work.

  • Closet Nerd

    sweet, a new way to deliver my dildos

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  • iteration2

    Forget about destroying drones to steal packages... Why not invest in a net to steal the drones?

  • CawaLimon

    Honestly, I think most people, (myself included) wouldn't shoot to steal the packages but shoot just for the sake of target practice... 21st century Duck Hunt IRL.

  • Holly Haze

    What's the likelihood that they won't have tracking devices?

  • iteration2

    Hmm... Good point. No likelihood whatsoever... Maybe some sort've highly magnetic net. Or a freeze ray. Are those things that could be ordered on Amazon?

  • Holly Haze

    What I imagine is that, they'll have a decent-sized team of people who monitor those devices and their tracking, and then send someone to investigate if the tracker went black/stayed in one place for too long/took too long to come back/etc. Behind every unmanned program is a big ol' team of people making sure things go well, and Amazon isn't stupid enough to make this a wholly automated process.

    As for the above comments about shooting down drones... why be so crass about wanting to stand in the way of good progress? People complain about drone spying so damn much, I'd think people would be overjoyed to see a really, really great application for an unmanned flying device. Think about the possibilities involved in that: You have a friend over, who reveals that they've never seen Dr. Strangelove. You order a copy of the movie, order a pizza, and by the time the pizza gets there, so has your movie.

    HOW COOL IS THAT?! Call me an optimist, but this is a really, really fucking rad thing. I'd sign up for Prime if I could do that, without a single question asked.

  • Barnaby Jones

    Imagine opening your door to receive your package, and being mauled by 4 drone rotors hovering a bit too close to your face.

  • Holly Haze

    I am now, and I can't stop giggling, because this is the scream I'm imagining:

  • CawaLimon

    I do agree that this is a great UAV application and I think I would order more often from Amazon if this became a thing. If this ever takes off, I'm sure there will be new rules put into place and enforced by police, (because you wouldn't attack your mailman). The "shooting the drones down" scenario is fun to imagine mostly because we've seen it in so many action movies...

  • dougfunnay

    i agree but ordering a movie is a pretty bad example because you can do that digitally with virtually no wait if you have a decent internet connection and something tells me at least initially this service will cost a pretty penny

  • Holly Haze

    You see my point, though, right? Having that option is really, really exciting.

    As for the cost, I doubt is hurting for money at the time, and I'm sure that a lot of Prime customers would gladly pay a bit more for the service. Add in the fact that the service would offset a lot of carbon emissions (as the drones will certainly be electric), would create a lot less waste (those plastic totes are almost certainly reusable and can be sent back), and would cut down on the sheer amount of manpower required to bring you a book, or an HDMI cable, or - yes - a DVD.

    I see where the negatives are coming from, but this is an idea cool enough that we should try and consider the positives, rather than the negatives.

  • iteration2

    If the totes need to be sent back separately, that defeats the purpose of using them for deliveries. But yeah, ultimately, despite joking about stealing drones for spare parts, I agree that this would be pretty cool, so long as the kinks are worked out.

    But there are a lot of kinks.

    I can imagine that exposed propellers would being a hazard to birds, cats, dogs, or anything else that might pounce on one of these. And they need a way to drop boxes without leaving behind a functional part of the drone which needs to be sent back. And the fact that it can't tuck a package into a safe place, but instead leaves it conspicuously in the middle of the driveway, could be problematic, especially for people without their own yards and driveways.

  • Holly Haze

    Absolutely, there are a lot of kinks. But this service isn't being launched tomorrow - they're talking about 2015 at the earliest. This would be a game-changing undertaking, and anything game-changing is going to require a lot of planning, for the best and for the worst.

    As for the totes being returned, I imagine there would be the option to check a box saying that you'd like to return the last one with the drone that drops off your current package, so that they can be recycled.

    Unless they make them dishwasher and microwave safe, then I'm just going to use it all as tupperware. Because those totes look like they'd be badass when it comes to holding leftover mac n cheese.

    As far as the lack of driveway and yard, I guess you could make a judgment on the Amazon Prime user and assume that a massive chunk of people who spend the money on Prime also spend the money on a house, but that's silly. I guess this is some Santa Claus shit, requiring a workaround.

  • Broseph

    stay out of my airspace

  • Andyman7714

    30 minute delivery if you live within 50 feet of an Amazon warehouse.

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