When will the first Amazon drone be brought down?

There’s a lot I could say about Jeff Bezos’s recent announcement that, within four years, Amazon will be delivering by drone, but I’m exhausted. I did want to say, however, that I can’t imagine a scenario where people, seeing a swarm of free electronics, DVDs and video games just buzzing overhead, wouldn’t be tempted to throw a rock, or worse. Proponents of the idea, I’m sure, will argue that people, if they were inclined to steal items, could just grab things off of people’s doorsteps now, and they’re right. But I think this is different. It’s one thing to see a mail truck making it’s way through your neighborhood. It’s another to see what you think could be a new, free laptop dangling over your head, just out of reach, on its way to the rich neighborhood next door. I just can’t help but think that these things will be seen as modern day piñatas, and taken down for sport. And just think of all the residual damage caused by flying rocks that miss their mark, or, worse yet, crashing octocopters. Personally, I think it’s likely a ruse meant to excite Amazon’s shareholders and scare the shit out of their competitors, but I suppose they could actually give it a shot, in some limited way, in areas around a few of their warehouses, for their customers who are willing to pay the additional fee for the experience. And, if it saves fuel, and keeps a few trucks off the street, maybe it’s a good thing. I just can’t wait for the first photos to hit the net of a kid in a ski mask holding up a smashed and smoking octocopter, its bounty scattered at his feet… You know it’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of when… I’m not much of a gambling man, but I wonder if any of the Vegas bookmakers are taking bets.

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  1. Posted December 2, 2013 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    Best headline thus far: “The Real Reason Amazon Announced Delivery Drones Last Night: $3 Million In Free Advertising On Cyber Monday

  2. H
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    It was foretold in the Hunger Games. This is how the sponsors deliver gifts to the participants.

  3. anonymous
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Who will buy from Amazon once Jeff Bezos has eliminated every job in America?

  4. Elliott
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    It would suck to be living near one of these facilities, having to constantly deal with these things flying overhead, but my main concern is that they’ll likely be collecting and broadcasting data. If there are video streams, will they be archived? Will they be shared with the authorities? Will the information gathered be used for purposes other than the delivery of goods?

  5. Eel
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    “the postal service responds”


  6. Tom R.
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    One thought that I haven’t heard mentioned yet in any of the coverage. Do you think having these drones in our communities will make it more likely that our local and state governments could begin using them as well? Once they become commonplace, might it be easier for our cities to launch similar looking drones to monitor our actions?

  7. Posted December 3, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Yes, drones are the only means of “monitoring our actions.” There are no others. The only way to fight big government is to get rid of flying things.

  8. Tom R.
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink


    We lost the battle on public monitoring. We had a chance to fight it, and we lost. I would argue the ability to enter into the airspace above our homes and follow us on our daily activities, however, is something different. It’s where the new battle lines are being drawn. How would you feel if, every time two or more young black men stopped in a public space, a drone hovered in front of them and took their photo, or asked them what they were doing? This is not only possible, but likely in the near future. We need to address this now.

  9. Eel
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    The DomiCopter didn’t get this much press.


  10. Posted December 3, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Tom R.

    Yes, then we should also deal with the problem of cars. Police can monitor from them, too. Maybe horses could also be a problem. And shoes.

  11. Tom R.
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink


    If you don’t see a difference between a few constables on foot, walking down a city sidewalk, and a fleet of drones that can maneuver across your property and shoot video through your windows, I don’t know that we can have a fruitful conversation.

  12. Posted December 3, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Given that police are known to violate peoples’ privacy using any number of means (their eyes are one, breaking down doors are another), I don’t see the difference.

    This is nothing but more technological alarmism.

    Amazon is a private company, seeking new ways to deliver products quickly and efficiently. More power to them.

  13. Jean Henry
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink


  14. Jean Henry
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Permalink


  15. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    I actually read an article that drones could be used in flocks, which is really creepy. I think the mail thing will be a bust, because local birds will get pissed off at these flying things, not to mention local squirrels.

  16. Posted December 3, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    I agree that it’s a long shot at best, but it’s a fascinating thing to consider. The real killer for me is that it would make the most sense in dense urban centers, where Amazon would have access to the most people within a ten-mile radius, which, from what I understand, is about the maximum distance the octocopters would work over. The problem is, in those situations, people are more likely to live in apartment buildings, which makes the logistics too complicated… Unless, of course, Bezos figures out how to do delivery right to apartment windows… Also, I read an interview with someone who used to work for Amazon saying that their best time, getting an order from receipt to truck, is about two hours. So, under the current model, half-hour delivery could never work… at least not for most things. Maybe they could select a few high-ticket, time-sensitive items to handle that way, though.

  17. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    I think logistics are far easier in apartment buildings, because it’s a high flat surface, (or can easily be converted into such) and voila, drone landing pad.

  18. HiMomanous
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    We should just have 24 hour closed circut cameras installed in our homes and be done with it. I mean, a cop can come look in your window so what would be the difference? You anti-drone guys are just a bunch of Luddites who should get some new tinfoil hats. This technology is a blessing that will let me get any crap I order online faster.
    Really the only people who are worried about this are doing something wrong and are already on FBI watchlists I am sure.

  19. Robert
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    I think these drones would be pretty easily brought down with another small remote control aircraft armed with a rotor-disabling net.

  20. captain lud
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Who needs remote controlled aircraft when we have boomerangs?


  21. wired
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    google may have a different plan. robots jumping from self driving vehicles to deliver packages.


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