PrimeAir concept a lofty pipe dream – for now

Published Dec 4, 2013 at 6:57 am (Updated Dec 2, 2013 at 3:53 pm)

Before this week, anytime the word “drone” was used in the media, the association was with unmanned aerial vehicles that sparked conversation and controversy earlier this year during congressional hearings on U.S. drone strikes.

But, Amazon.com, a game changer in how America – and the world – shops online, is changing the game once again. On Dec. 1, just hours before Cyber Monday began, a segment on CBS’s “60 Minutes” announced the Amazon PrimeAir concept, using, you guessed it, drones, to deliver packages within 30 minutes of placing an online order.

Of course, there are stipulations – the purchases eligible for this type of delivery must weigh less than five pounds and delivery addresses must be within a 10-mile radius to Amazon distribution centers.

What we are looking at here may indeed be the way of the future – but for now, we see it as no more than a lofty pipe dream that has grabbed the media’s attention and diverted it from Amazon strikes in Germany and reports of deplorable conditions in Amazon warehouses in the United States.

In order to make Amazon PrimeAir a reality, the Federal Aviation Administration would have to pass off on the idea, which isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.

Not only that, kinks in the GPS system will have to be worked out, and a plan will need to be put in place to avoid allowing the packages to be shot down, stolen or intercepted.

Don’t forget to factor in the weather with this system. How will these drones fair in snowstorms, thunderstorms or high winds?

Currently, there are Amazon “Fulfillment Centers” in only 14 states, Pennsylvania being among them. However, there is not one located in the Pittsburgh area, or even in the Western Pennsylvania region.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos predicts the system will get off the ground in the next four to five years, but we highly doubt it.

Sure, the concept is a great one, allowing even more immediate gratification – as well as convenience – than we are used to. But, we expect the drone buzz to die down very shortly, and to not hear about the concept again for a very, very long time.

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