M2M - The Industry

I remember a few years back when I seemed to have lost track of time as we got close to Christmas.  My wife was constantly reminding me very aggressively (a.k.a. "nagging me") to remember to order a toy for our oldest son.  As it turned out, her "nagging" was quite justified as it was quite the nail-bitter to see if we would get the toy from Amazon in time for Christmas.  I remember thinking...."Amazon needs to find a better way to get me my stuff than relying on UPS at Christmas".  And, it appears they have.....well, they at least they have a new potential way, not sure if it will be better.

It appears that Amazon has some clearance from the US government to start some testing of their "manned" drones (meaning that someone with flight experience is flying them, not riding on it).  They have a lot of restrictions (how far they can go away from the pilot, how fast they can go and at what altitudes), but to some lucky people in rural Washington State, you may get to see the future of package delivery very soon.

But is using unmanned drones actually a good thing?

Well, it is never great to see anyone lose their jobs due to technology advance, but like I have written previously, M2M/IoT solutions will end up costing a lot of people their jobs as it will be much less expensive to use a solution.  However, I think this solution is a unique one, as it brings up some interesting safety concerns:

For a good laugh (and for 8 reasons why the Amazon drone may not be a good idea), check out this funny "rant" from Lewis Black.  As he points out, getting your new waffle maker delivered may have some new dangers that we are not used to.

On a more serious note, there are some limitations / concerns that need to be overcome for this technology to work:

Collecting money
I don't see a drone having the ability to interact well with people when it comes to collecting funds for C.O.D. packages, as an example.

Unexpected obstacles 
My neighbour is a bit of a "freak" when it comes to Halloween.  I mean, they could film a Hollywood movie in their front yard!  So, I wonder how well the Amazon drone deals with the large spider web that they put covering much of their porch....

Golf-ball sized hail
Ok, like the bees in the movie "The Bee Movie" (yes, I have little kids, I have seen it a lot), maybe these drones will not fly in times of bad weather.  However, I know a lot of places are like Calgary (where I live) and quick moving weather can move in fast....I wonder how the drone will take to getting hit with hail the size of a golf ball or bigger?

Confusing directions
I used to live in a walk-down basement of a townhome.  Although it was pretty well marked that you went down the steps to my place, I almost never seemed to get the pizza delivery guy who could find my place.  I suspect that the drone won't fair too much better than that guy did for finding places with not-so-perfect directions.

The Bottom Line


I think it is inevitable that the job of a delivery person will be replaced by some sort of machinery.  I am just not sure if this is the best way to get it done.  However, some of the best inventions of the past century have pushed the limits of what we thought the human mind could do. Just look at the Internet, the modern PC, cellular technology and of course, the Taco Bell Dorito taco!  If they can put that great cheesy taste into a sandwich style taco, then maybe they can deliver packages without taking someone's arm off... 




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