By Abbey Knupp
The future is now. With each new technological advancement, the divide between the real world the world of science fiction becomes thinner and thinner. On December 2, 2013, Amazon blurred the lines even further with the announcement of a drone-based delivery service that will launch within the next 3-4 years. The sleek, black “octocopters” will deliver packages directly to people’s doorsteps within 30 minutes of the order’s placement, preventing people from having to wait for their packages.
The octocopters will be able to deliver packages weighing less than five pounds to any location in a 10-mile radius from Amazon’s distribution facilities. Given this information, the service will most likely be available to those living in large cities, though the service has the potential to expand if it gains original success.
A mixed reaction has erupted from the general public. While no one is complaining about the shortened delivery time, some people are worried about the commercialized use of drones. Though the cyber-warfare found in the Terminator movies and the common man versus machine problem seems a little far-fetched in application to these tiny drones, the concerns regarding privacy are very real. With tiny drones flying above houses and around neighborhoods, big business puts itself directly into the life of the modern citizen; what is to stop the government from doing the same thing?
Also, how can we be sure that the packages will get to their destination? Many jokes have already been made about shooting down the drones and receiving a present, much like the players in the game Animal Crossing. Amazon announced that the Federal Aviation Association is currently working on formulating rules regarding these unmanned vehicles, putting an emphasis on public safety. In addition, the drones will originally deliver at safe drop-spots and fly at an altitude of 300 feet until landing to ensure that they are not used for target practice.
Many questions still need to be addressed, but Amazon is unabashed in their efforts to create this new service. More information will be available as the program progresses, but the drones could be in the air as early as 2015.
If drones are going to be delivering packages almost as soon as the packages are ordered, what else will the future hold? Amazon and many other companies seem to have lost their patience. They’re bringing the future to us.