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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Opinion

Amazon drone program set to launch delivery into the future


Francis Emelogu//The Daily Cougar

Francis Emelogu//The Daily Cougar

The future is now.

CEO Jeff Brazos announced on “60 Minutes” on Sunday that Amazon is currently developing drones that will be used to deliver orders placed through their website. Brazos said the drones will be able to deliver packages anywhere within a 10-mile radius of one of Amazon’s shipment centers. This applies to any package that is 5 pounds or less — a requirement that more than 86 percent of Amazon’s packages fall under.

The sweetest part of it all, however, is the promised delivery time. Brazos said your package will land on your doorstep 30 minutes after your order has been placed.

I know what you’re thinking: finally, a way I can get season two of “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding” immediately without leaving my house!

But unfortunately, like all things that sound too good to be true, Amazon Prime Air is likely not going to happen.

In an interview with CNN, Missy Cummings, an associate professor at MIT and one of the Navy’s first female fighter pilots, said Amazon’s drones are likely just “optimistic.”

“I think they (Amazon) are stepping out in a typically naive way,” Cummings said.

She also spoke about the difficulties that might arise through the Federal Aviation Administration, which would need to regulate and be aware of all of Amazon’s flight plans.

There are even more complications that could arise when the drones are actually introduced into the world. Bad weather, for example, could be a major complication for Amazon’s drones.

“They can fly in some precipitation, but certainly not heavy precipitation,” Cummings told CNN. “Sleet or snow … would obscure some of the sensors. It’s hard to make it a really solid business if the weather holds you back. They’re going to have to work on that.”

And how much will a delivery by drone cost? If overnight delivery alone is over $20, how much would a speedy 30 minutes take out of my pocket?

Moreover, are human beings mentally prepared to see hundreds of little drones in the sky? There are probably a lot of paranoid people out there who would be willing and ready to shoot down any flying contraption that they saw over their house.

One such man is Phillip Steel, a Colorado man who currently resides in Deer Park.

When asked by the National Journal what he would do if he saw a drone, Steel replied that he “would shoot it down, ordinance or no, I would shoot it down.”

Of course, this delivery system is not perfect yet. Brazos said during his “60 Minutes” interview that they’re currently still developing Amazon Prime Air — and it will likely not be fully unleashed until five years from now, with the earliest drones possibly taking off in 2015.

But there’s something a little exciting about this news, even if it is perhaps just a PR stunt or an idea that will inevitably fail. Even if these drones aren’t taking off five years from now, the simple idea that our delivery system could perhaps progress in that direction is terribly exciting.

If these drones do end up being successful, they have the possibility of having a powerful and positive impact. We could deliver items to people in difficult places, like medical supplies and food.

There are still a lot of chips that need to fall into place for these drones to work. Until then, I guess we’ll just have to wait the estimated 3-5 business days like everybody else.

Opinion columnist Carolina Trevino is an advertising freshman and may be reached at [email protected]

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