Amazon Prime Air Takes to the Skies
The days of simple RC cars that take AA batteries is long gone. With developments in technology, recent years have seen some stunning innovations in the developments of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), otherwise known as drones. As these amazing machines rip through the skies at high speeds without a single person aboard, some people have skepticism about whether or not they are good for our society.
One of the first and most popular uses for aerial drones was for military purposes. They could be used as surveliance, collect information from a safe distance, and even launch weapons when necessary. For this reason many people are freightened that Amazon prime air has announced the use of new drones for delivery services.
Friend or Foe?
But are these drones strictly a tool for wartime? Or can they serve valid social functions as well? Lets break down what the pros and cons Amazon’s drone delivery has for our society.
- Quick delivery of small packages (estimations suggest delivery in less than thirty minutes!)
- More jobs with drone development and maintenance (combined with less jobs delivering however)
- More fuel efficient and environmentally friendly than delivering small packages with normal vehicles
- The diminished need for fuel and labor will likely make deliver much cheaper for the consumer
- Public Safety – The drones use sharp metal blades and batteries that run the risk of explosion
- Package Security – If a drone crashes or is hacked, the package you paid for could be damaged or stolen
- Privacy Issues – Since they can travel virtually anywhere, many fear that the delivery drones and commercial use will lead to an infringement on their private lives
Will it Happen?
The outlook is optimistic for the online marketing giant at the moment, but the new drones wont be taking the sky for quite some time. In order to reduce the concerns surrounding potential risks, the FAA has to undergo thorough testing and create policies to go with the delivery service.
There are currently six different testing sites scattered around states in America that are dedicated to research and development of safe and efficient drones. The reviewing process will take quite a while and the FAA estimates that clearance wont be granted for the new drones until around 2015, the same year Amazon plans to launch Amazon prime air.
Drones for Commercial Use
The idea of a drone delivery service does seem appealing to the masses, especially those who live in densely populated areas. There are plenty of ways our society can benefit from using drones other than delivery purposes.
Photography – Drones can easily reach areas that people can’t reach. For this reason, they ideal for taking photographs from the sky and capturing pictures of large structures from new angles.
Surveillance – The use of aerial drones for surveillance is one of the most controversial due to the fact that a camera is involved. You could fly a drone around and keep an eye over areas you previously couldn’t reach or hook a camera up to.
Scientific Research – Scientists will commonly run into barriers when conducting research. Animals scurry away from them, environmental factors keep them at bay, and dangerous environmental conditions can pose a huge risk. New drones can snap photos, collect data, and do all sorts of other things to help scientists get an edge in their research.
Law Enforcement – People would have a much more difficult speeding down the highway if drones were monitoring them. It takes the risk of high-speed chases out of the equation for patrol officers. They could also be used in situations that put an officer’s life in danger.
Should we be Worried?
Regardless of our fears, our society is going to continue developing at an incredible rate. It’s a matter of opinion really. If you envision a futuristic society with amazing advancements, you should welcome the drone delivery with open arms. It will be something that opens up the door for future innovation and advancement.
If the risks worry you, put your trust in the FAA. They aren’t cutting any corners when it comes to safety and the public’s well being. If the commercial drones pose any real threat to our society, they won’t be cleared for use until the problem has been analyzed thoroughly.
Adam St. Pierre