Monday, December 2, 2013

Drones Tested Worldwide as Air Freight in Miniature Substitutes for Road Haulage

Apparently it's not a Joke as Global Distributors Try the Aerial Route for Faster Services
Shipping News Feature

US – WORLDWIDE – It isn’t April the first so we have to assume the latest revelation from the world’s biggest online distributor Amazon is either another revolutionary step to reduce road haulage miles using their own miniature air freight service, or a publicity stunt. According to company CEO Jeff Bezos the multinational is testing unmanned drones to act as local delivery vehicles, and it is not the first company to do so.

Setting aside the fact that any kid with an air rifle sitting outside Amazon’s local delivery hub could create a whole new category of crime (armed aerial robbery?) it’s hard to see how this idea will ever ‘get off the ground’, particularly in urban areas where one failure could end in a multi-million dollar lawsuit. Bezos revealed details of the scheme on the CBS network’s ’60 minutes’ news round-up and a video of the new ‘PrimeAir’ 30 minute delivery service can be seen being tested HERE and is presumably intended as an extension of its Prime programme which has recently been extended to cope with seven day a week deliveries.

The ‘Octocopters’ have a five pound payload with a ten mile radius range but, for use in the States the company will need to get the things past the Federal Aviation Administration, so don’t hold your breath although, according to Bloomberg, administrators have instructed the regulator to find a way to integrate drones into American airspace by 2015 and this has led to a $40 million plus investment into the technology by September this year, double 2012’s whole tally.

Drones have played an ever more significant role in aeronautics of late, beside the oft referred to military use in places like Afghanistan we have seen them used in different roles, two years ago a story we ran showed a video of a quadricopter remotely surveying a cathedral seriously damaged in an earthquake whilst Australian book distributor Zoocal announced a drone delivery scheme in Sydney early last month (video HERE) saying it would employ six vehicles using GPS technology coupled with a smartphone app.