Patterico's Pontifications


Amazon Announces Plan to Deliver Packages in 30 Minutes Via a Flying Drone

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:31 am

Here is a pretty awesome video of how it would work:

Bezos says we’re about 4-5 years away from receiving packages via drone. The company will have to work with the FAA on understandable concerns about, say, airliners being brought down by a drone carrying a work desk that you can attach to your steering wheel. That’s not the only problem, either. People will undoubtedly shoot at these things. And dogs will attack them. And so on.

But if those concerns can be worked out, it would be pretty cool to order by drone, eh? Of course, the smart alecks are having some fun with it:

For now, however, those in a hurry are going to have to wait a whole business day for your product (if you are a Prime member and spend $3.99 for one day shipping). (Details on how to become a Prime member here.)

Anyway, it’s CYBER MONDAY!!!! and while those Breaking Bad seasons are no longer $9.99, there are deals on digital cameras and many other electronic items. Remember to use the search box to the right or follow one of the links in this post to help out this blog at no extra expense to you.

And prepare for the drones!


  1. Ding.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 12/2/2013 @ 7:43 am

  2. Shoot the drone? That’s shortsighted. Throw a net over the drone and hack its RC. Now, that would be an Amazon premium. Or if you don’t want to risk having the whole drone around, cut it up and sell its parts to hobbyists. I’d like all or part of one, myself, so my daughter and I could dissect for a “how things work” daughter-daddy thing.

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/2/2013 @ 7:46 am

  3. Yes, I know, “It’s not yours — hands off!” Heh!

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/2/2013 @ 7:47 am

  4. Wonder if they have a drone that could get to me L.A. without dealing with the damn 5.

    Comment by Patricia (be0117) — 12/2/2013 @ 7:52 am

  5. I gotta go back to Deer Trail and make sure my drone hunting license is renewed.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 12/2/2013 @ 7:59 am

  6. Would 7 1/2 shot (2 3/4 shell, 26″ modified) be enough, you think? It’s the spread I know.

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/2/2013 @ 8:06 am

  7. nk, if that drone can carry a useful load it’s got to be a fair size. And I don’t know what it’s made of. So I think 7 1/2 shot may be a bit light. I’d start off using a good 3″ turkey load in #4 if lead’s legal. If you’re hunting over or near water like at the 53 second mark in the video where lead is prohibited I’d use something good for pass shooting geese like Kent Fasteel 3″ BB. I mean, it’s not like you’re going to call the drone in and shoot it over decoys, is it?

    I’d pattern it with modified, improved modified, and full because my shotgun has removeable choke tubes.

    Comment by Steve57 (4f25e8) — 12/2/2013 @ 8:32 am

  8. Slug will do the trick.

    This is good. We’ll have active targets to practice on for when we need to down a spy drone.

    Thanks Amazon!

    Shouldn’t his name be Bozos?

    The Amazon Site’s basic structure hasn’t changed in over 10 years and it’s always been flawed. People put up with it because of free shipping, taxes and convenience.

    Now they’ve raised the minimum for getting Free shipping, you have to pay taxes and the convenience is being lost for a number of reasons.

    And they still won’t update their search function so that you can browse more easily. Still have to click and click and click to get into a certain price range or other “filter”. Even EBay has a better search function than Amazon but Amazon won’t change.

    I wrote them and told them the $35 threshold was too much and that I would start looking and buying local.

    How can you trust the judgment of a guy who decides to buy a dead tree communication facility? (and you know it’ll be just as liberal or more.)

    Comment by jakee308 (e940d5) — 12/2/2013 @ 8:36 am

  9. Don’t know if they suspended this for the holidays, but I think you may be able to sign-up for a free 30-day Amazon Prime membership. As P indicated, you get free 2nd day shipping or cheap next-day shipping. Note that it is automatically renewed after 30 days, so you have to go in and cancel to avoid being charged after that.

    Comment by JVW (709bc7) — 12/2/2013 @ 9:25 am

  10. Is this for real?

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 12/2/2013 @ 10:14 am

  11. They can’t possibly do this in my area but it’s still cool.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 12/2/2013 @ 10:16 am

  12. 8 @jakee308 Even EBay has a better search function than Amazon but Amazon won’t change.

    eBay’s got worse because they got rid of the wildcard character [*]

    In general, websites get worse with time. Once they have a lot of businessd, they don’t need to be as good as they were in the beginning.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (c720af) — 12/2/2013 @ 10:18 am

  13. The problem with delivery by drone is what do you do with apartment buildings.

    But I think maybe they could try delivery to fire escapes or terraces or balconies, where they exist.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (c720af) — 12/2/2013 @ 10:20 am

  14. I thought it was December 1st yesterday … not April 1st.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 12/2/2013 @ 10:23 am

  15. nk, I’m with Steve57, 7 1/2 shot is too light. No penetration.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 12/2/2013 @ 10:24 am

  16. This would work best if the customer who wanted drone delivery would first have to get something in the mail. They could plant it somewhere and then delivery would be to that beacon.

    Q. What would happen if it crashed into a bird or a pane of glass or a telephone or electric wire?

    What is real, this year, is that Amazon is paying the United States Postal Service for Sunday delivery. They deliver to the local Post Office and USPS does the rest.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (c720af) — 12/2/2013 @ 10:26 am

  17. Bezos may be a genius at something but package delivery is not his strong suit … there is a reason his company outsources that …

    this assumption that a success at one thing makes you an expert on all things is silly and especially silly when applied to internet geniuses who venture out into the real world … and crash and burn …

    Comment by JeffC (150c7b) — 12/2/2013 @ 11:14 am

  18. Needs some music and animation.

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/2/2013 @ 11:52 am

  19. I bet some deliveries in rural areas would be cheaper by drone… why do a 30 mile round trip for a toilet seat?

    I also wonder if that thing will fly down the chimney ho ho ho

    Comment by steveg (794291) — 12/2/2013 @ 2:31 pm

  20. Well, Bezos’ plan was to land on a lawn.

    I am not sure his drones are manueverable enough to go down a chimney – and they might get stuck, too.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (c720af) — 12/2/2013 @ 3:19 pm

  21. Easier to fly through a window, maybe. Or an open door.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (c720af) — 12/2/2013 @ 3:21 pm

  22. Sammy!!!!!!

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/2/2013 @ 4:22 pm

  23. As God is my witness, this is already giving me visions of the WKRP in Cincinnati turkey drop.

    Comment by elissa (af177f) — 12/2/2013 @ 5:39 pm

  24. I can see it now: Your neighbor “borrows” your snowblower and hasn’t returned it yet by Memorial Day. So you order him a CD of “Rick Astley’s Greatest Hits” from Amazon and have it delivered by drone. Of course, you have them package it up as “Dark Side of the Moon”.

    The note on the inside of the jewel case….You’ve just been RICKDRONED!

    Comment by Russ from Winterset (10f7d0) — 12/2/2013 @ 6:18 pm

  25. Well, that didn’t take long. Safe.

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/2/2013 @ 6:24 pm

  26. elissa, you win da internets today.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 12/2/2013 @ 6:37 pm

  27. Wild turkeys can fly. For the longest time (until Al Gore invented the internet), I thought domesticated turkeys needed to have their wings clipped to keep them from flying off. So I never faulted Mr. Carlson for that.

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/2/2013 @ 6:48 pm

  28. Of course, as someone pointed out, if you refuse to pay for the shipment, you might run into a problem, Hellfire maybe?

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/2/2013 @ 6:51 pm

  29. re. 6, 7, 8, et al. You guys seem to be ignoring the potential damage to the payload, not that I have an answer other than minimal needed to bring it down without vaporizing the merchandise.

    I wonder how long it will take the local RC crowd to hack the system and “divert” the delivery. It could turn out to the 21st century version of holding up the stagecoach with the mine payroll on board…

    @17– awful close to saying that just because someone can get people to vote for them doesn’t mean they can actually run a country or anything.

    Comment by gramps, the original (a862ce) — 12/2/2013 @ 6:59 pm

  30. I can’t wait for the new Amazon delivery service. I can order toothpaste through Prime and practice my shotgun skills.

    I will tell the neighbors I’m celebrating Obamacare.

    I do not see a downside.

    Comment by Ag80 (eb6ffa) — 12/2/2013 @ 7:34 pm

  31. I really want to know where they shot the commercial. I want to make bets on the over/under number of UFO calls the local police department received that day.

    Comment by ratbeach (477e41) — 12/2/2013 @ 7:44 pm

  32. I hope Amazon has a plan to bird-proof its drones.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 12/2/2013 @ 7:57 pm

  33. The post office is on it with its state of the art technology.

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/3/2013 @ 7:04 am

  34. I saw a picture of the drones on TV. They are not too big. Maybe enough to deliver 2 or 3 paperback books and one hardcover.

    You could see, years from now, someone ordering:

    “Windows 11: the Missing Manual (the book that should have been in the box)” by David Pogue (no CD – you get programs at


    “The Secret History of the Clinton Administration” by Joe Klein and Ron Rosenbaum.


    Emergency boot USB – Fulfillment by Amazon.

    That’s about what would fit.

    Then the drone reaches your window – but someone has, since the last delivery, put a potted plant there:

    It goes:




    Flower pot is knocked down. Soil spills. The pot doesn’t break. The fall isn’t big enough.

    The drone goes in and delivers its load
    to a coffee table.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (bcd7c8) — 12/3/2013 @ 8:05 am

  35. If it delivers it outside, does it wait? Des it drop it off? What if it rains? I suppose that’s no problem – the packaging is waterproof.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (bcd7c8) — 12/3/2013 @ 8:06 am

  36. Idea for a children’s book:

    “The Day Liam Grew Too Big to Fly:”

    In the year 2024, parents in the Seattle tacoma area are enjoying a new service. Drop off and return of toddlers to da care – they call it school.

    You see pictures of children being sent to school.

    Being unstrapped – 3 l;ayers of straps, so they don’t fall out, even if the drone is upside down (if it turns upside down, a parachute deploys)

    Children being unstrapped by the “teacher.”


    1+3 = 4

    2+2 = ?

    But one day, one boy, taller and bigger than the others, gets into his drone at school.



    It just doesn’t stay off the ground.

    He ate lunch and drank water. That put him ove the limit.

    They try taking off his shoes.

    Still no good.

    He watches all the other children leave.

    But it really is good news.

    It means he is getting big.

    Two hours later, his motgehr comes and gets him.

    No more flying for Liam.

    But maybe one day, there’ll be an Elroy size drone car, if not a George. Just attach a helium filled cavity.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (bcd7c8) — 12/3/2013 @ 8:14 am

  37. The drone will always know where the addressee is because of the locator chip implanted in the addressee’s head, Sammy. You get those when you subscribe to Amazon Super-Duper Drone-Prime. If he is not in an accessible location, the drone will radio a subaural message for him to step outside. I can see problems if you’re in the bathroom and the drone is hovering around and muttering to itself, “How long does it take this guy to **it, for buzzing out loud?”

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/3/2013 @ 8:16 am

  38. So what happens when I order something to be delivered to New Zealand?

    Comment by scrubone (7385a6) — 12/3/2013 @ 12:11 pm

  39. Comment by scrubone (7385a6) — 12/3/2013 @ 12:11 pm

    So what happens when I order something to be delivered to New Zealand?

    In New Zealand, delivery by drone will not be available for some years after rollout – only carrier pigeon.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (3bb3ae) — 12/3/2013 @ 12:32 pm

  40. Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/3/2013 @ 8:16 am

    The drone will always know where the addressee is because of the locator chip implanted in the addressee’s head, Sammy.

    No, this doesn’t make sense. If you use a chip,. why not implant in the leg or some other less, sensitive place?

    No, the chip will be attached to someone’s hair, or, if there is none, to a scalp, with a clip or duct tape.

    As an alternative, it might be attached to your Google Glasses, or on the side of one of your your ears, like they used to do with a pencil.

    This is only if you want delivery in the street.

    Street delivery might be useful, say, if you are sightseeing and want a copy of something like Artwalks in New York or The Intrepid New Yorker or perhaps an SD card for your camera or cell phone to take pictures. Or maybe you need to repair your bicycle or car. Don’t have it taken away – just have Amazon deliver to you your spare parts.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (3bb3ae) — 12/3/2013 @ 12:43 pm

  41. One problem:

    How will accidents, like this one, be avoided?

    The man, Roman Pirozek Jr. of Woodhaven, Queens, had been operating the large model — measuring several feet end to end — when it hit him and the top of his head was sliced off, the police said.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (3bb3ae) — 12/3/2013 @ 12:48 pm

  42. 32. I hope Amazon has a plan to bird-proof its drones.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 12/2/2013 @ 7:57 pm

    They do.

    As an aside, this is pretty much how I imagine WH meetings on went as they rolled out the website on 1 October.

    Comment by Steve57 (4f25e8) — 12/3/2013 @ 12:53 pm

  43. I kind of like the tweet about a list of targets.

    Comment by malclave (1db6c5) — 12/3/2013 @ 7:12 pm

  44. 23. 26. This was Number 40 in the The 100 Greatest TV episodes of all time!

    as chosen by the staff of TV Guide
    and Nick at Night TV Land

    …as of as of 6/25/97

    October 30, 1978

    TV shows traditionally greet holidays with a hug, but not WKRP. In “Turkeys Away,” which was based on a true story, station manager Arthur Carlson (Gordon Jump) announces plans to unveil a secret promotional event, and newsman Les Nessman (Richard Sanders) shows up at the local mall to cover it live. A helicopter comes into view. Mr. Carlson is aboard. So are 20 live turkeys — which, to Les’s horror, are hurled to their deaths. “Oh, the humanity,” Les wails, evoking the Hindenberg while fowl balls plummet to the parking lot. Mr. Carlson is shocked. “As God is my witness,” he says, “I thought turkeys could fly.”

    “Richard had tapes of the Hindenberg disaster,” says Loni Anderson, who played Mr. Carlson’s secretary, “and practiced his broadcast to sound real. He was a perfectionist.”

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (ccb2ac) — 12/4/2013 @ 2:50 pm

  45. Maureen Dowd column about Amazon drones, woth comments:

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (ccb2ac) — 12/4/2013 @ 3:01 pm

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