Jeff Bezos has taken tourists to just beyond the earth’s atmosphere.
But Amazon can’t make package deliveries via drones in heat waves, inclement weather, or items that are breakable, bigger than a bread box, or weigh more than five pounds.
And that’s just for starters.
The book seller turned defendant in a far-reaching Federal Trade Commission retail sector price fixing anti-trust case promised the moon a few years back in terms of space tourism.
His firm Blue Origin took its first real “payload” of tourists into space on July 20, 2021.
A decade ago, Bezos went on “60 Minutes” when he was still CEO of his company, and vowed to have delivery via drones up and running by 2015.
Bezos even proclaimed, “I know this looks like science fiction, it’s not.”
Ten years later, Bezos’ vision of taking home delivery from a step above the Flintstones to what the Jetsons expect is still basically an impractical pipe dream.
Amazon has two proving grounds, so to speak, for deliveries via drones.
One is in College Station in Texas.
The other is in Lockeford in eastern San Joaquin County, 26 miles as the drone flies slightly to the northeast from Manteca.
Both test locations have been in play for more than a year.
So far, it has been less than stellar.
*Only one item can be delivered at a time as long as its not breakable, weighs less than five pounds, and isn’t too big.
*Items aren’t placed on the ground per se but are dropped from 12 feet.
*The customer needs to put a target on the ground.
*You need to be home to make sure porch pirates didn’t follow the drome or after the payloads drops it may inadvertently roll into the streets, which has happened.
*There can’t be a vehicle in the driveway.
*Dropping packages into backyards is dicey due to drones having to navigate trees..
*Drones can’t fly when it’s too hot — think around 100 degrees — too windy or too rainy.
And those are just issues related to a small targeted delivery area supported by a local Amazon mini distribution center.
No one has even scratched the bigger issue — the impact of universal drone delivery.
It is highly doubtful anyone is in the mood to allow Bezos et al to employ carte blanche disruptive technology and allow delivery drones to descend on communities like locusts.
What could possibly go wrong?
The more appropriate question is where do you start?
*Drones can create a buzz which your neighbors — not to mention their dogs – may not appreciate. Is there going to be limited operating hours?
*What assurances are there that drones won’t take shortcuts over private property — such as other people’s yards — instead of staying above public streets?
*How will delivery drones in large numbers disrupt the environment for birds?
*What type of liability does Bezos et al want to be excluded from given how they already think they should be treated differently if a driverless car runs over a pedestrian? There is a lot of damage drones can inflict if something goes wrong — power outages, property damage, and even safety issues if something malfunctions and people on the ground are struck.
*How does one justify a massive increase proportionately per delivery in terms of packaging and cushioning to avoid product damage?
*Are there any thoughts given to what Amazon might do to avoid porch pirates from tailing drones given they can also sit on a house once a package has been dropped to determine if no one is home which could allow them to up the ante to commit a residential burglary?
*How will delivery drone services be reregulated in terms of how many can operate?
*Can government legitimately bar individuals from delivering items to friends using their own delivery drones which essentially means public right-of-way above roads is only for commercial ventures?
*What steps will be taken to make sure illegal drugs aren’t delivered by drones with cover provided by Amazon and others?
If you don’t think the last item isn’t more than likely to occur, guess again.
Illegal drug sales are ideal for delivery by drones.
They are not breakable
They weigh less than 5 pounds.
They would require minimal packaging.
Drug drones could easily avoid detection, more so than a shady character making a transaction in a park or on a street corner.
Then there are the lack of societal tradeoffs.
Delivery drones won’t reduce the number of last mile delivery vans given limitations.
Instead, Amazon would be adding o community congestion but in the air. At the same time they will also further deteriorate the quality of life due to even more delivery “vehicles.”
This is so a handful of people who can obviously afford to pay what ultimately will be a hefty delivery fee to Amazan to justify drone deliveries that are so attuned to the “I want it now” self-cantered way of thinking can get what they want as quickly as possible.
Of course, what they want would have to be much smaller and lighter than a bread box.
Given a decade in the modern-day tech world is the equivalent of 7 lifetimes in the natural world, it is obvious that Amazon can’t escape a basic fact: They need much more powerful drones to offer any resemblance of a delivery service that is practical for enough people to make it work.
Unless, of course, Amazon wants society via government approval to take over the skies to cater to the whims of their customers for whom money isn’t a concern,
You know the ones. They want the latest lipstick an influencer on Tik-Tok pushed less than an hour or so after seeing it.
Bezos et al pride themselves for having no sense of boundaries. It is why they are considered the giants of the disruptive economy.
Perhaps it is time for society to just say no to what is not only an extremely questionable endeavor that potentially could unleash a monsoon of delivery drones to alter the environment of the skies when it comes to feathered as well as human life.