The PJ Tatler

Good News for Agoraphobes: Amazon to Deliver by Drone within 30 Minutes

If you have a proclivity toward agoraphobia or prefer not to leave your house, Amazon has something special for you.

On Wednesday, online retailer Amazon told Congress the company is developing the means to deliver items within 30 minutes via drone.

Using commercial drones to quickly deliver packages is probably years away. But when government regulations catch up with emerging technologies, it could revolutionize the way people shop for items they need quickly, said Paul E. Misener, vice president of global public policy for Amazon.com.

“If a consumer wants a small item quickly, instead of driving to go shopping or causing delivery automobiles to come to her home or office, a small, electrically-powered (drone) vehicle will make the trip faster and more efficiently and cleanly,” Misener told the House Oversight Committee.

Naturally, government is looking to regulate commercial drone use.

“The Federal Aviation Administration proposed rules in February that would severely restrict the use of commercial drones. The House panel held a hearing Wednesday on their economic potential as well as concerns about safety and privacy.”

“We are working diligently to develop a regulatory framework that will allow for innovation while ensuring the safety of other users of the airspace and people and property on the ground,” FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker told the committee.

But Amazon wants the government to speed up their rule-making.

Misener urged Congress and the FAA to speed up the rules and to reconsider some of the restrictions for commercial drones. He said the technology exists to safely operate commercial drones well beyond the eyesight of the operator.

Misener said Amazon does not yet have the logistical capability to receive and process orders, and then deliver packages by drone within a half hour. But, he added, “We will have it by the time the regulations are ready.”

Safety is a big issue with a sky full of flying drones.

“There will be an incident. There will be a crash. There will be probably fatalities because you have so many of these things flying,” Rep. John Mica (R-FL) said. “I hope it doesn’t take down a big commercial aircraft. I hope it doesn’t have a lot of fatalities but I think it’s inevitable.”

I’m torn on this. I’ll have to see if my distaste for drones is outweighed by my need for instant gratification.