Welcome to the future, where devices most commonly associated with murder and mayhem will be delivering packages right to your front door within 30 minutes of an online purchase.
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In a surprise announcement during “60 Minutes” on Sunday, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled the giant online retailer’s drone-based “Prime Air” Program.
Bezos told host Charlie Rose that unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) using GPS coordinates will be capable of delivering items up to 5 pounds in weight, or 86 percent of the items that Amazon delivers. The items will be flown from one of 96 warehouses, also known as “fulfillment centers.”
“One day, Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today,” the company said in a statement.
“One day” is potentially only 4 to 5 years away as the FAA works on establishing regulations for domestic drone use.
Amazon Prime membership program already provides free two-day delivery. The corporation has expanded to include grocery delivery and recently announced that it was teaming with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver on Sundays.
See Bezos reveal Amazon’s Prime Air program on “60 Minutes” below:
Check out footage from a “Prime Air” test flight below:
Though there are no regulations governing domestic drone usage, that hasn’t stopped anyone from experimenting with them.
In October, a small drone flying high over Manhattan almost crash landed into a businessman innocently walking on the sidewalk. A news station in Central Florida also discovered a drone that had fallen from the sky. It is also poorly kept secret that businesses and filmmakers have been using drones for quite some time, often calling out the hypocrisy of the federal government which has kept a tight rein on small drone activity on domestic soil, while increasing drone use in foreign conflicts.
As I previously reported by NewsOne, President Barack Obama has struggled with criticism of the drone war that has expanded dramatically under his administration. Indeed, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there have been 6 times the number of drone strikes in Pakistan under the Obama Administration than under the Bush 43 Administration, and the CIA has been authorized to target funerals and rescuers.
Critics have denounced the inhumanity of drone warfare — and rightfully so. The United Nations has launched an investigation into the legality of the expanding US drone war and The Bureau reports that 4,643 people have been killed in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.
While Amazon’s “Prime Air” drone program is certainly an exciting technological development, it will also go a long way in normalizing a weapon of mass destruction in America’s psych and opens the door to a different set of privacy concerns.
Or it may simply be a more efficient way to deliver mail.
Welcome to the future.
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