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Amazon Partners With UK Government To Test Drone Deliveries (usatoday.com) 44

An anonymous reader quotes a report from USA Today: [Recent rules from the Federal Aviation Administration mean delivery by drone is years away in the United States, but packages may be winging their way to customers sooner rather than later in the United Kingdom, where Amazon just got permission to begin a new trial of its delivery drones.] The U.K. Civil Aviation Authority gave Amazon permission to test several key drone delivery parameters. They include sending drones beyond the line of sight of their operator in rural and suburban areas, testing sensor performance to make sure the drones can identify and avoid obstacles and allowing a single operator to manage multiple highly-automated drones. U.S. rules are outlined in a 624-page rulebook from the Federal Aviation Administration. They allow commercial drones weighing up to 55 pounds to fly during daylight hours. The aircraft must remain within sight of the operator or an observer who is in communication with the operator. The operators must be pass an aeronautics test every 24 months for a certificate as well as a background check by the Transportation Security Administration. The rules govern commercial flights, such as for aerial photography or utilities inspection. Amazon's goal is to use drones to deliver packages up to 5 pound to customers in 30 minutes or less. Amazon released a statement today detailing its partnership with the UK Government that may one day turn its Prime Air drone delivery service into reality.
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Amazon Partners With UK Government To Test Drone Deliveries

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  • by Len ( 89493 ) on Monday July 25, 2016 @08:16PM (#52579187)

    [Recent rules from the Federal Aviation Administration mean delivery by drone is years away in the United States

    Didn't I just read that 7-Eleven is already doing drone deliveries? Yes, I did. [theverge.com]

    • And, of course, Part 107 doesn't say that "delivery by drone" is years away. Recent rules from the FAA mean that the requirements for certain commercial uses have been relaxed. It doesn't mean that all other commercial uses are "years away". Part 107 did not eliminate 333 waivers or COA, just make them unnecessary for some uses.

      Hyperbole in TFS is getting tiring. As is the consistent failure to link to the actual source instead of some muckraking story about the source. For example, "Recent rules" links no

  • and of course spy into people windows and back yards as it flies through.

  • Never happen (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Monday July 25, 2016 @08:22PM (#52579209) Homepage Journal
    This will never happen in any significant way. What a gimmick. This is what happens when tech companies have too much cash and no clue about what to do with it next. Just pay a driver $15 hour to drive the stuff.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Virtually everyone said the same thing about personal computers not all that long ago, now virtually every home has one. Before that satellites were "never" going to be commercially viable, today most people can't go through a day without getting some information (TV, weather, internet, etc) via satellite. Drone delivery does have a LONG way to go before it proves its worth (if there is any) but only time will tell, not the predictions of the unimaginative.

      • Stupid comment. Just because something happened doesn't mean something else is going to happen. With your argument pigs will fly in the future, because someone once said that satellites "were never going to be commercially viable" (which no one ever did say).
        • Flying pigs will never be commercially viable.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Read the book "The idea factory" about bell labs, satellites were considered economically impossible for quite a while. Although I agree with you this is not an argument for everything being possible...

          • satellites were considered economically impossible for quite a while.

            Satellites were economically impossible for quite a while. When "satellite" consisted of Echostar, it was impossible for there to be enough ground stations to deliver a service like Dishnet.

            It got better.

            That doesn't mean that the economics or physical constraints on using drones to deliver stuff are going to "get better" to the point that it makes sense to use such a system. There are things where technology can be perfect and it still doesn't make sense to deploy. Like high speed raid outside a high pop

    • Drones have the capability of cutting drivers out of the logistical process. This might make it profitable for companies. Don't know the specifics, but as a general rule automation pays of for the owner of the process.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Suggest you do the numbers on this, the cost of the man (even on minimum wage), the van, the fuel, the HR, etc. Then do the numbers on a drone that will probably only cost a few grand in mass production and powered by rechargeable batteries.

      It's pretty surprising, but it's not even close - the drone wins for any reasonable suburban density. Plus it's much more reactive, and can be smarter too.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Delivery drivers kind of suck though. They often just lob the package at your house, drive-by shooting style. Even if you are in the best you can hope for it a note through the door saying "sorry we missed you", hastily written out while driving.

      If a drone can deposit stuff in my back garden or on my flat roof, that would be great. Unfortunately it doesn't look like it can put the package under a porch or otherwise out of the rain. Then again neither can the delivery drivers most of the time.

  • In other news... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GrumpySteen ( 1250194 ) on Monday July 25, 2016 @08:25PM (#52579219)

    The UK has determined that there aren't enough CCTV cameras. No word on how they intend to rectify this terrible shortcoming.

    • I wouldn't mind if they were closed circuit, are least then only people on the circuit can see the images, the problem is that almost no security cameras are CCTV these days, so any Tom, Dick and Harry government can read the data without a warrant and going and asking for the tapes with warrant in hand.

  • I'm curious:

    Where does the FAA claim it gets the power to regulate drones which are only engaged in INTRA-state commerce and flying too low to interfere with interstate air traffic? Seems to me that's the state's job.

    (Similarly with the FCC and radio signals that are too weak to be decoded outside the state of origin or substantially interfere with reasonable interstate services. Sure "radio goes on forever". But so does sound - with the same inverse-square law and similar interference characteristics -

  • by easyTree ( 1042254 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @03:55AM (#52580421)

    People already like to shoot drones down. This is great - shoot the drone and win a prize. God bless the freemarketocracy.

  • The downtrodden UK taxpayer will be footing the bill

    (Given Amazon has paid pretty much nothing into the UK coffers for years...)

  • Bushes, trees, Halloween decorations, spiderwebs, rain, sleet, snow, dogs, cats, raccoons.

    Delivery drivers are extremely flexible, they can walk around bushes and other obstacles near your door. They pet or feed dogs that appear near the package. What happens to the drone attacked by the dog (or that slices into the family pet who happens to attack the drone).

    If you want a special delivery spot on your roof, then should Amazon be sue'd be everyone who falls off the roof trying to retrieve a package.

    If thin

    • People will just have to keep a special clearing if they want drone delivery. Just like having a driveway or mailbox. It's a feature of your home. We can call it a Wabe.

      The 7/11 drone wrecked with a load of Crown Royal in the Wabe!

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