I was pretty sure this was an early April Fools joke, but no, apparently it's not. Amazon actually wants to use a fleet of unmanned drones to airlift packages directly to your door. Behold:
According to a CBS report, the service, known as Amazon Prime Air, is meant to get packages out to customers in just half an hour. That definitely beats overnight delivery.
Now, this vision of consumeristic bliss is still a little ways off. Amazon says it will take "some number of years" for the technology to mature and for the FAA to enact new rules and regulations governing the use of unmanned aircraft. Amazon hopes those FAA rules will come into effect "sometime in 2015," and it plans to be "ready at that time." CBS says Prime Air will be available "in as soon as 4-5 years."
Oh, and yes, Amazon will ensure that drones don't just fall out of the sky and wreak havoc on the ground. "Safety will be our top priority," says the company. "[O]ur vehicles will be built with multiple redundancies and designed to commercial aviation standards." I hope so—I'd feel pretty bad if a drone carrying my new Kindle went down over a busy highway and caused a huge car pileup.
Come to think of it, I expect I'd feel bad using the service either way. Can you imagine locking eyes with a neighbor while picking up your delivery after one of these things drops it off? Could you stand being known around the neighborhood as that spoiled, impatient manchild who gets his
comic books graphic novels and miscellaneous technical gizmos airdropped? I don't think I could handle the stigma.
And I don't think my wallet could, either, unless Prime Air service somehow doesn't come at a huge premium.