Today on The Rundown, we focus on Amazon’s proposed drone-delivery system. Jeffrey Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, announced that his company will pursue electronic delivery - but not in the way you’re thinking, like email. Nope. Bezos is trying to convince the Federal Aviation Administration that his octocopters should be able to fly in the country, delivering much of his company’s products to customers within ten miles of distribution centers. It’s a curious announcement, especially on the heels of the company’s last big PR news - an increase to $35 from $25 to qualify for free shipping - generated some ill-will towards the online megastore. It could be clever PR, and Bezos might have no real expectations for the drones, but logistics concerns never stopped science speculation before. The big issue is legality - currently, the drones would be illegal to fly in the US - and convincing the American public that these delivery choppers are safe and secure. Considering the current attitude towards the drones the federal government is using to drop bombs and conduct surveillance, using drones for civilian consumer supply is going to be a tough sell. Still, this won’t happen soon (the FAA is supposed to have new rules in place for drones by 2015, but there’s no guarantee the legislation will happen by then), and even then, only those in urban environments would be in delivery range. A curious announcement and an interesting plan, but perhaps nothing more than clever PR.
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