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Amazon is gearing up for Prime Air

There is plenty of discussion surrounding the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles within the U.S. The U.S. National Parks Service put the kibosh on drones within national parks because they “can be extremely noisy, and can impact the natural soundscape.”
More recently, CNN and the Georgia Institute of Technology of banded together to study the use of UAVs for newsgathering and media coverage.
The FAA is slowly warming up to the idea of providing greater freedom to operates UAVs in U.S. airspace, and handed out the first commercial UAV license last month. Now Amazon is knocking on the FAA’s door for permission to start its own UAV trials.
According to Reuters, Amazon is seeking permission to fly drones in the Seattle area in preparation for its much-ballyhooed Prime Air delivery service. Amazon’s Prime Air delivery vehicles would be capable of carrying five-pound packages at up to 50 mph.

As previously reported by Amazon, the five-pound capacity would be enough to support 86% of the products that the company sells on its website. Amazon is hoping that once fully operational, its Prime Air service will be able to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less (you hear that, Dominoes?)
In fact, Amazon has extremely high hopes for its Prime Air service, stating, “One day, seeing Amazon Prime Air will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today, resulting in enormous benefits for consumers across the nation.”

Amazon has the resources to make such an endeavor possible, and noted in its letter that it is already working on its eighth- and ninth-generation UAVs. In addition, the company has amassed a team that includes “world-renowned roboticists, scientists, aeronautical engineers, remote sensing experts, and a former NASA astronaut.”
Amazon is seeking FAA approval because its UAV efforts have thus far been limited to indoor testing or in other countries. Testing a 50 mph drone is obviously problematic and Amazon would rather perform flights tests closer to its Seattle headquarters where it’s cost effective rather than perform the tests in another country.

Sources: Reuters, FAA Request [PDF]

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RE: Propperels
By Samus on 7/13/2014 4:59:11 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, all of your facts are moot when you consider a drone is about 20lbs with cargo and a truck is anywhere from 15-25 tons.

So even at maximum velocity, a drone will do no more than break a windshield or knock a pedestrian over. A truck would most likely kill either a vehicle's occupants or pedestrians in even a low-speed collision.

I'd also assume Amazon will have prop insulators (blade protectors) and maybe even encase the drone in lightweight foam (for aerodynamics and safety)

I'd wager many limbs that drone delivery safety will outweigh any other form of delivery method safety we currently have. To think otherwise would take a moron.

The only potential danger drones have to public safety is aircraft intervention, and that's where the FAA needs to set strict guidelines, ie, even during a malfunction, the flight ceiling should be mechanically limited to 500ft and nowhere around airports.

RE: Propperels
By sorry dog on 7/14/2014 12:45:56 PM , Rating: 2
I think a 10-15 pound drone at 50mph can do more than "knock a pedestrian over." It's not hard to think of potentially serious injuries and I'm not talking about blades putting an eye out. Also, remember that if another vehicle is hit then the collision speed may very well be 100 mpg or more. I would not discount this as a rare event as roadways are likely to be used as "airways" to keep them from intruding too much on private property. One thing that will turn public opinion against these is a drone buzzing over their backyard several times a day. Which makes me wonder... if drones are using roadways, how are they going to avoid power lines and overgrown trees. It's going to take more than GPS navigation... maybe visual recognition has come along a lot further than I knew about. If the drones fly any higher than 200 feet then that will put them at risk of man aircraft. I live in a major city and aircraft fly overhead at 500 to 1000 feet every few minutes.

I'm not necessarily anti-drone, but there are tons of questions and problems that need to be sorted out, and I don't want to see other exist rights or institutions taking a back seat (like new rules for GA aircraft) for amazon's benefit.

RE: Propperels
By NovoRei on 7/14/2014 12:52:12 PM , Rating: 2
Samus, are you following Reclaimer's footsteps?

The problem of discussing with the common north-american is that you always go for the fallacy of ad absurdum. And you stick to it.

It's also disappointing to see how much you (the people in general) think of FAA and a disrespect to the millions of hours put by engineers that ensure risk is at an acceptable level.

Food for thought: Can a rock with a weight of 2lbm throw at 20mph be deadly?

What about a free-fall object of 5lbm and initial speed of 50mph?

You don't need a truck.

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