Amazon is currently working on their Amazon Prime Air feature. This would entail having drones deliver packages to the customers doorstep in just 30 minutes. Despite regulation hurdles, Amazon is continuing to move forward with their production of the drones and previewed their newest drone prototype this weekend.
This new prototype has technology that would allow it to ‘sense and avoid’ any aerial obstacles and it is able to carry up to 400 pounds. The drones ascend and descend vertically while flying horizontally – upon descent, they scan the landing zone and find a clear area big enough to deliver the package. While the company has been openly discussing drone delivery since 2013, regulatory issues keep this new style of delivery at a halt.
Recently the FAA granted Amazon an experimental airworthiness certificate, allowing the company to begin outdoor testing of their drone delivery system for research. This certificate however, includes many restrictions along with the permissions. These restrictions include many requirements: the drone must be within eye sight of the pilot who must have a private pilots certificate minimum, they can only fly during daytime and in clear weather, as well as flying at an altitude of 400 feet or lower. They must also send detailed reports to the FAA monthly.
I believe that this technology would pose many opportunities as well as downsides. I think that it will make delivery easier and more effective while providing a huge leap in technology. However, it will take jobs from mailmen by privatizing delivery methods, as well as crowding our airspace. This relates to our course because it will largely increase globalization by increasing worldwide trade online.