The Amazone Drone

It is possible; order online and only wait 30 minutes until you receive your package. Imagine how easy that would be, no need to go out to the supermarket anymore if you forgot to get the cheese or only having to wait for a short while on the book you ordered instead of a couple of days.

From now on this is no longer an illusion according to the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. With the use of  so called ‘octocopters’, Amazon will send little packages in a radius of 16 kilometers from the warehouse to its customers. Currently 86 per cent of Amazons products under the weight of 2,5 kg could be send by those electric drones.

Bezos expects that Amazon will deliver by air in four or five years. However, in China unmanned planes carrying packages have already been spotted and in Australia the company Zookal is planning to fly schoolbooks as of March 2014.  Yet, they have to wait for approval of the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority. But there is hope for them, Australia has a progressive legislation towards drones and was the first country to make legislation for unmanned planes in 2002. Even in the USA itself it is already happening, some fast food companies have already tested  food being delivered over air to its customers, such as Domino’s who transported two pizzas, andBurrito Bomber who successfully delivered taco’s.

But there is more to it, since Bezos’ announcement in the beginning of December about his so-called Prime Air plan, some uproar came up. Some of it is about practical matters: how would the drones avoid flying into trees or phone lines? Can they also fly when it is raining? How to avoid people in the USA shooting down the drones? How can they find a suitable place to land? What if drones get ‘hacked’ and taken over by someone else? Do they form any harm for airplanes?  Amazon did not have answers for these questions, nor did other companies.

Yet, the main fear about the introduction of the drone as a delivery method is the fact that multiple objects will be flying around all day. This has several implications, first of all, if those drones need cameras to perform a landing this means that they can, maybe accidentally, film in your garden where you might be sunbathing or through the window of your bedroom or even bathroom. What happens to those records and who has access to them? Luckily, it is unlikely that the authorities will permit any recording or taping by those drones. But even then, imagine sitting outside in the garden enjoying the sun, and every now and then a drone blocks your sunlight. And when you look around you constantly see huge bees flying around. At least for now that is something people rather do not see.

What about the Netherlands you might wonder? There are no examples of commercial drone usage yet. Nevertheless, since July 2013 there is legislation concerning drones. At this moment official permission is needed to be allowed to fly with drones. Furthermore, the possibility to fly in densely populated areas is restricted.  However, this does not mean that drones are not used. At this moment the Dutch police does make use of drones for traffic checks.

For the near future, we will not face a world full of flying objects. But for now we should start thinking where we want to go, what we accept and what not. Do we allow  our air being polluted with flying machines for more convenience?

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