Although this minor triumph of technology over humanity did not occur in US airspace, on-line retail giant Amazon officially pierced the commercial realm of drone deliveries with an initial successful run deep within the British countryside.
The Wall Street Journal notes that the monumental facilitation of a UAV for Prime Services included a 13- minute flight powered by a single propeller drone bearing goods of microwave popcorn and a streaming movie player from a warehouse to the ultimate destination of a farmhouse near Cambridge. The company initiated testing of commercial drone service in areas of low population density due to concerns over potential mechanical failures or undesirable interactions with humans or other vehicles. Currently, shortened battery life predicated by design and weight specifications and questionable durability are the chief constraints in limiting flight times and overall range in dictating coverage area and consumer reach. The current debate brewing in the US involving the FAA establishing a feasible definition of public airspace and subsequent restraints on commercial applications is another crucial factor in the company’s decision to launch flights on an international scale.
While the company procured a small sliver of history in the lonely farmlands of the British Isles, any dialogue involving return on investment after three years of rigorous and costly development is silenced by the reality that the current functioning infrastructure only has the potential to reach dozens of customers. Quite often in a world of exploding technology, beta testing is often a misnomer for commercially viable business ventures.
Read the full Wall Street Journal article here.
VIDEO: Highlights Of Amazon Prime On The Job (courtesy CNET.com)