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  #21  
Old 02 December 2013, 11:26 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
For a small vehicle that is operating autonomously, returning to base is not such as handicap as it would be for a large, drivered vehicle. And 5 lbs is a pretty small payload. According to my reading* of the Wasp III fact sheet, it has a payload capacity of over 13 lbs in a UAV with a 2 foot wingspan and is powered by electric motors. Sending out such a vehicle on single trips wouldn't be nearly as inefficient as it would be sending out a full-sized van.

Also, they could have a manned delivery vehicle that drives to the weighted geographic center of multiple deliveries that would then launch out successive series of drone deliveries.

* According to the sheet, the aircraft itself only weighs 1 pound, but can carry 13 pounds of payload. That sounds off to me.
I believe any air delivery is going to be less efficient, and more expensive, than a truck. The truck can carry a thousand pounds or more and can make pickups as well as deliveries.

A truck operates in nearly all weather conditions.

A truck can deliver a package weighing a hundred pounds. The aircraft cant, meaning the local office must have both delivery capabilities.

UPS air is, AFAIK, always more expensive than UPS surface (truck).

Routine moving of things by air is fast but it is always more expensive than by truck (or train, or ship).
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  #22  
Old 02 December 2013, 11:33 PM
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Mickey Blue Mickey Blue is offline
 
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I generally agree that I fail to see how this will be better than a truck.. That said a drone and a regular airplane to not operate under the same set of rules cost wise.
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  #23  
Old 02 December 2013, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmy101_again View Post
I believe any air delivery is going to be less efficient, and more expensive, than a truck.
Well, yes, but the same applies to trucks vs rail or shipping, which are far more efficient and cheap. You don't do something like this because it's more efficient in the energy sense.
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  #24  
Old 02 December 2013, 11:38 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Mickey Blue View Post
I generally agree that I fail to see how this will be better than a truck.. That said a drone and a regular airplane to not operate under the same set of rules cost wise.
Perhaps, but a truck doesn't have to fight gravity like an aircraft does, and thiat right there is a pretty big advantage for the truck.

I can see drone/automaton delivery (assuming people will put up with it) but I sure can't see it replacing trucks as the standard delivery method, flying is just to energy inefficient.
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  #25  
Old 03 December 2013, 01:11 AM
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I'd be curious to know how these drones would be powered. If by battery, perhaps contingent on advances in battery technology over the next few years, it may not matter if the drone is, pound for pound, less efficient than a truck if it can draw its power from a sufficiently cheaper source.

ETA: In any event, I'm a little bummed: I was promised flying cars and hydratable pizza by 2015, not flying drones delivering regularly hydrated (and cooked) pizza.

ETA2: I can also see drones taking more humans out of the loop than just drivers. I've gotta believe that it would be easier to automate sorting and loading of packages for a drone than a truck. I could see the drone picking package up, stacked or not, straight from a conveyor, reading it's destination, and taking off. Another advantage that could offset the reduced payload efficiency of a drone vs a truck.

Last edited by ASL; 03 December 2013 at 01:18 AM.
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  #26  
Old 03 December 2013, 02:41 AM
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Flying loot pinatas combined with paranoid armed nutjobs- what could go wrong.
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  #27  
Old 03 December 2013, 03:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Mickey Blue View Post
But, they are called drones, and they may fly over your house, and something like them is used overseas to kill people, and Obama may be spying on you..
Ah, but these are private-sector drones. That's completely different. No one minds when huge corporations spy on you, just the government.
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  #28  
Old 03 December 2013, 03:19 AM
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Easy solution: make them female.
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  #29  
Old 03 December 2013, 03:44 AM
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What the delivery notices might look like:
http://cheezburger.com/7934392576?ref=whatspopularvotes
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  #30  
Old 03 December 2013, 03:47 AM
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Well, according to that drone's serial number there are probably less than 512 of them. Plus they can't reproduce (they're all female). I'm not worried yet.
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  #31  
Old 03 December 2013, 07:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASL View Post
ETA2: I can also see drones taking more humans out of the loop than just drivers. I've gotta believe that it would be easier to automate sorting and loading of packages for a drone than a truck. I could see the drone picking package up, stacked or not, straight from a conveyor, reading it's destination, and taking off. Another advantage that could offset the reduced payload efficiency of a drone vs a truck.
They're already beginning to use robots for sorting and loading in their warehouses: http://www.thewire.com/technology/20...-humane/50094/
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  #32  
Old 03 December 2013, 07:09 AM
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Of course, I doubt that Amazon plans to make all their deliveries by drone (at least not till we're up to Jetsons-level technology). Routine stuff will most likely to the old-fashioned way. I could see that it might have some specialized applications, but it doesn't seem practical on a really massive scale. I suppose that could be short-sighted of me.

(Now that I think of it, I'm usually carrying a GPS-unit in my cell phone. How about a drone that can carry your package directly to you even if you're not at home at the time? A few details to work out of course...you don't want it trying to drop it on your car on the freeway....)
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  #33  
Old 03 December 2013, 07:32 AM
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This will definitely, absolutely happen. It's just a matter of time. It won't ever be done for all packages. It would have been unthinkable 100 years ago that all mail would be =Air Mail= by default. I think in 20 or 30 years but definitely in 50 to 100 years, this will be the default way of receiving goods. Of course, in places where everyone is armed and looking for targets, as well as paranoid as hell about, well, everything, it might take longer and might take some changes either to the robots themselves or in society and law. It will be an ordinary thing, not something unusual or unexpected to see a flying robot deliver a package.
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  #34  
Old 03 December 2013, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E. Q. Taft View Post
Ah, but these are private-sector drones. That's completely different. No one minds when huge corporations spy on you, just the government.
Relevant South Park link (warning some bad language, though not too terrible considering the source).
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  #35  
Old 03 December 2013, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by firefighter_raven View Post
Flying loot pinatas combined with paranoid armed nutjobs- what could go wrong.
"Flying Loot Pinatas." Phrase of the day, and you win the internet!
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  #36  
Old 03 December 2013, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey Blue View Post
... and Obama may be spying on you.. That is enough to put off a lot of people, even with a new name (though obviously a new name wouldn't hurt).
I'm fasinated with where drone technology will go over the next few years, but I I think privacy is a real concern. The capabilities to "spy" using drones is going to way outpace a legal framework; both for public agencies and private citizens use. By the time the legal framework starts to catch up, the horse may be gone and closing the barn door with laws my be difficult if not impossible.

The second concern (well really more of a curiosity) is how to avoid having so many of these hovering about that they don't become a nuisance and hazard. There are so many potential uses for them, that I can see compitition for airspace, especially in cities becoming a real challenge. This is agrevated by their low cost, allowing your average joe to build/buy one and fly it for fun.

There's lots of potential for it to become a bit of a wild west up there in the next few years.
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  #37  
Old 03 December 2013, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CenTex View Post
"Flying Loot Pinatas." Phrase of the day, and you win the internet!
I can only take partial credit. Loot Pinata is a term used in Eve Online to describe popping other player's ships, hoping for a good drop.
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  #38  
Old 03 December 2013, 05:31 PM
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Ali Infree Ali Infree is offline
 
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My vision is that these retail delivery devices (RDDs), if you like, will be prone to being hijacked in any number of ways. What happens then? Does Amazon file a police report and re-send your stuff by truck?
I am also imagining air corridors stuffed with various unmanned delivery objects (UDOs) flying in a line east west, then another line north-south with additional lanes.
So, does Amazon beef them up like ATMs? Then how efficient will the aerial merchandise dispensaries (AMDs) be?

Aerial Loads Indicators (ALI)
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  #39  
Old 03 December 2013, 05:35 PM
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A webcomic I read has figured out another problem with this delivery method: Ctrl+Alt+Del .
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  #40  
Old 03 December 2013, 05:51 PM
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I would wonder about, by the time drone delivery becomes a reality, what percentage of Amazon's orders will still be items weighing less five pounds. I suspect a big chunk of that business is essentially entertainment software (e.g., games, movies, books, music) that has less and less need for physical components.
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