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Drones and autonomous vehicles
Wnderer   12/6/2013 9:08:15 AM
The way to use the drones is to couple them with Google's autonomous vehicles. The self-driving vehicle drives up to your house and a drone delivers the package to your front door. It then calls your phone and tells you the package is there.

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Squeeze Play
jg30   12/6/2013 8:16:35 AM
I think it's obvious that Bezos is putting UPS and Fedex on notice.  Keep your pricing lower than it costs me to build millions of tiny helicopters!!  Effective whether or not it actually gets implemented.  At the same time he builds so much loyalty with those of us in love with technological advances.  Quite brilliant and bold as usual.  

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Re: Think Big
rtapl123   12/5/2013 10:08:35 PM
No - there are LOTS more problems with this.  Air turbulence is just one.  Dog, animals, small children, bicycles - the list goes on and on.

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Re: Emergency Medical Supplies
rtapl123   12/5/2013 10:06:41 PM
Thanks for writing a sensible piece on this idotic idea.  If you have ever flown model aircraft or helicopters you will realize this is complete nonsense.  Air currents near the ground and buildings are horrendous and include lots of rotors that will just dump the vehicle.


Bezos clearly is no expert on fluid dynamics or vehicle flight.

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Speaking of Hot Air
damngoodengineer   12/5/2013 9:10:51 PM
Why not we install a national pneumatic delivery system?

Large tubes deliver goods between regions, smaller diameter tubes handle point to point.

This would be cool.  Also probably would be sabotaged by high school kids with stink bombs or worse.  Too bad - order a burger and fries (or beer) and zoom there it is. 


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A bit of privacy context
Terry.Bollinger   12/5/2013 10:08:33 AM
Privacy! Flying cameras! Governments! Bezoses! Omygoshes!!

First, everyone, please: Don't ever assume that privacy will take care of itself. It won't. It is a right that everyone must pay attention to and treat carefully, and it's a big part of what real democracy is all about.

Privacy will also require some innovative thinking as we get more and more connected, since in many cases the real issue is not how much information is available, but who gets access to it. If only a few have access, you and your society are in trouble, since such highly concentrated power will inevitably be subject to human foibles -- and most humans really, really like power.
The James Madison et al concept of balance of power and cross checks very much comes to mind here, but it will likely need to be broadened in new ways. Physicist and science fiction author David Brin advocates a sort of open-source privacy model in which everyone has equal access to public information. It's a pretty unsettling thought, though arguably not that different from what many people are already doing with Facebook. It's also a lot less scarier than the idea of some very small number of people getting exclusive access to everything. Open privacy in contrast lets everyone be part of the free press -- and that in turn makes it a lot harder for some small number of folks to do really stupid or greedy things without getting caught.
With all of that said, blaming drone cameras as somehow magically putting us over some critical horizon of loss of privacy is, to the say the least, a strangely myopic view of the problem. For example, what other IT capabilities should be banned based on worries about what you could do with them?
Well, the entire Internet of course. Cars too, because they can carry cameras, look at Russia! Of course people can carry small cameras too, so I guess you have to ban all small cameras... so no more smart phones, stop that right now! No bank cameras of course, you know how this stuff creeps in starting with what sounds like a reasonable exception... Facebook? Ohmigosh, I guess you would just sort of have to arrest everyone there, at a minimum? And LinkedIn too? And Twitter? And any social medium? I mean, these nefarious folks are seducing the entire population of the world into giving away all their secrets and enjoy doing it! It's almost like one of those, what do they call them, free-market economies where everyone trusts each other enough to advertise who they are and what they can do freely, so that everyone can make new innovative connections and build new forms of trust.
Less cynically: Ludditing does not enhance privacy. Bezos is trying hard to show how drones can do useful things, and I applaud him for it. By doing so, he will eventually help address the very privacy concerns that folks are worried about. Why? Because he's showing how positive, free-market style options for sometimes scary new ideas can benefit everyone in positive, growth-generating ways. That in turn will produce the political will to ban the truly negative uses of the same technologies, something that's hard to do when people can't see the full spectrum of possible uses.

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Flight time
Larry0   12/4/2013 12:14:02 AM
Flight time is about 10 minutes and the radio range on a fully charged battery is about 1/2 mile or so. Now you add some weigh like a small package and flight time is really short. What sized box will it lift? It would take less time and money to just deliver the package the old fashioned way. 

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Re: Overkill and unnecessary
_hm   12/3/2013 7:08:00 PM
Drone looks good potential in remote community. But Amazon may not be really interested in this good work.


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Re: It's just marketing!
CTHP   12/3/2013 6:30:34 PM
I agree. The legal ramifications and theft will be too much to support such an idea. And with a 10 mile radius, why not just jump into your car and drive to the Amazon 'will call' window and simply pick up your purchase.

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It's just marketing!
Paul.Chow   12/3/2013 5:44:17 PM
Only engineers would get into a discussion about the feasibility of this :-)  How much free advertising did Amazon just get by being in the news on the busiest days of shopping?

BTW, I heard this on CBC radio this morning, so I'm not taking credit, but given the timing, you have to think this is a very elaborate piece of marketing.

Meanwhile, back to the feasibility discussion!!  I think we need to add cloaking http://media.utoronto.ca/media-releases/thin-active-invisibility-cloak-demonstrated-for-first-time/ and you make the package appear when you are ready to pick it up!  Sorry, just wanted to push some local technology :-)


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