Look, up in the sky, its a bird, its a plane, its a….Drone? Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you, it is in fact, a drone hovering above looking for an ideal spot to drop off your latest Amazon purchase. You guessed it, Bezos and Company have recently stated that they are close to achieving the technology that will enable them to deliver packages to your doorstep, via an un-manned drone. As amazing as this futuristic accomplishment sounds, it only gets better… they plan on promising delivery in as little as 30 minutes from the time you press the ‘pay now’ button on your computer! Jeff Bezos’ is a visionary, a renaissance man with unlimited capital and he wants to change the world for the better. His company has grown 10 fold in the last 8-10 years, and has revolutionized the online shopping experience, cushioned the bottom lines at companies like UPS and Fed Ex, and created many millionaire employees. I, for one think if anyone can do this, its Jeff Bezos and his loyal soldiers at Amazon.
If when Amazon is able to deliver on this promise we will enter phase 2 of the online shopping experience, this phase will forever change our immediate gratification expectations. If you can order the latest American Girl Doll through Amazon and receive it quicker than you would, had you gotten out of your robe and nightcap and drove to the mall, that my friend will spoil us and forever alter our expectations. The infrastructure to accomplish this will be monumental and not without cost both in real dollars and in societal effects. Here are some pros and cons to this upcoming alteration of the online delivery experience:
Receiving a package you just bought on your computer 30 minutes ago is “Pro” enough. Talk about excellent customer service! Keeping you from having to fight those pesky, overzealous, Black Friday shopping maniacs is “pro” enough. This will give a new meaning to last minute Christmas shopping. The advent of ‘delivery parties’ will ensue, where men gather together outside, drink beer and await the delivery of their wife’s Christmas presents. You laugh, but trust me it will happen especially when football is not on!
For starters, you can almost guarantee there will be some crash landings, wrong deliveries, theft, and power line entanglements, these are obvious. It’s the likelihood of mischievous behavior at the expense of one very expensive drone, that you may not have thought of. Take for instance a rural area with deer hunters, and say a few hunters are having an unproductive day when a drone flies by…target practice anyone? I’m just sayin! Kyle, from rather-be-shopping.com refers to this as shoot and shop, and he is right on the money, this will become a favorite pastime! There is certainly going to have to be cameras mounted on these drones, which will likely cause privacy concerns. Folks are not going to take to kindly to drones monitoring their every move. A crash landing into a house, a car, or an individual is something we are sure to count on. Liability insurance costs for Amazon will surely increase, so needless-to say, this cost will be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher merchandise and delivery costs.
The FAA is cautiously opening the door to domestic drone use. There has already been a successful domestic deployment of drones by firefighters, search and rescue teams and disaster relief instances. Drones have immense potential, although the technology has some maturing to do. That said, Amazon is well positioned to capitalize with its vastly deep pockets and pioneer mentality, look for Bezos to get the job done. Look forward to these Amazon drones as they are sure to be altering the cityscape in the near future.