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Are drones and robots in US delivery future?

December 23, 2013
The Mining Journal

It sure didn't take long for "60 Minutes" to move past a big problem. Just when the venerable TV newsmagazine was still cleaning up the fallout from its Benghazi reporting, the mess was swept aside by happy-talk publicity over drones.

It was not one of the show's heavy exposes that was generating the coveted buzz; this was a light-as-a-feather wet kiss for amazon.com and its gazillionaire head honcho, Jeff Bezos. Amazingly, the puffery produced a little news. Bezos, who usually is secretive, revealed to Charlie Rose the prototypes of unmanned aircraft he's trying to develop to quickly deliver products ordered online from his mega warehouses to the customers' homes.

Wowee-zowee! This was huge! The Internet lit up like a holiday tree. Never mind that others, like pizza giant Domino's, have been exploring their own ways to turn flying swords into profit shares.

Article Photos

Amazon drone. (Amazon photo)

They, too, want to bring home from the wars the impersonal overhead killing machines and make a killing by adapting them to civilian use. UPS also is said to be studying them. So, this is nothing particularly noteworthy, except now Amazon - the behemoth that is taking over the entire world - is exploring them.

For everyone, it's going to take awhile. The Federal Aviation Administration is trying to figure out how to make sure these squadrons of model airplanes don't crash into each other, as well as trees and homes, or that they can be counted on to not drop their cargo, particularly food orders, on unsuspecting innocents below, causing lots of "splatteral" damage.

But let's assume the FAA works all this out. The potential is enormous. Already, police departments are making plans. Imagine a robotic SWAT team overhead. Think about the surveillance potential. For that matter, these remote-control aircraft could become another tool for the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies.

 
 

 

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