Think that idea will fly?

Published 12:00am Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Only time will tell if Amazon’s idea to use drones for package delivery will fly.

But, hey – 20 years ago, we never thought we’d be able to pause live TV, have a phone that would work anywhere and fit in the back pocket – or any of those wonderful technological marvels we have today.

I remember when my parents got a bag phone. You remember those? The black bag perfectly sized to carry a bomb in? I called my cousin in Tallahassee, amazed that the thing worked.

I was in my 20s before I got my first cell phone. Now, we can watch movies and last night’s TV shows practically anywhere there’s a signal. Amazing.

Amazon made headlines Sunday night when it announced it was working on small drones that could someday deliver customers’ packages in half an hour or less. On Tuesday we found out that the e-commerce giant wasn’t the only company researching how to harness the potential of small, unmanned aircraft. Sources reported that the world’s largest parcel service, UPS, has been experimenting with its own version of flying parcel carriers.

Can you imagine insect looking machines, called quadcopters, dropping packages on doorsteps?

Coming from a company that employs robots in its warehouses, the drone vision isn’t too surprising, but it sure is interesting to think about.

Delivery drones are already a reality: The Marine Corps has been using two remote-controlled K-MAX helicopters to deliver supplies in Afghanistan.

In Amazon’s case, CEO Jeff Bezos said one would have to live 30 minutes from a distribution warehouse for the service.

I wonder who would fly those things. I bet you’d have to have some sort of special license – like “Toy Helicopter Flight School Graduate” or some such.

And could you imagine those things flying over South Alabama? Hunters everywhere would be plinking them out of the sky. Guess there might be a push to add them to Game & Fish’s patrol list. Get caught with a drone and face a fine.

I – like most folks, I bet – worry about getting bonked in the head with one?

I mean I’ve heard of people getting appendages cut off by flying helicopters and flattened by falling plane cargo. It would be horrible to be smacked upside the head by a copy of John Grisham’s latest (which I finished last week and is fabulous. Thanks, Amazon!)

But, I have to give the smart-thinking folks at Amazon kudos for thinking outside the box – or at least the one they have to ship out from the warehouse via UPS. Like I said – I guess time will tell if the idea will fly.

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