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Electronic News & Comment

Amazon 'Octocopters' Face Technical Challenges

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James Patterson
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MIT has SkyCall
James Patterson   1/21/2014 4:01:27 PM
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MIT has SkyCall so its possible to make it work.

William K.
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Re: This is now dead
William K.   1/20/2014 8:40:42 PM
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My guess is that Amazon is aware of some of those hazards and may have included something such as loading the destination prior to launch, and not allowing chages without some unannounced validation process. And there is always the option of sending a well armed dron aircraft to wherever the wannabe hijackers send the delivery. That should reduce the recurrence of such activities in a hurry.

Another choice would be to add a revers video link so that the senders could see who comes for the package. A video record of taking the delivery ought to hold up in court quite well, and result in convictions.

 

Cabe Atwell
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Re: This is now dead
Cabe Atwell   1/20/2014 5:35:26 PM
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How long will it take for users to port-over Samy Kamkar's SkyJack software and simply take over Amazon's octo-copters to steal both the drone and the package?

William K.
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Re: This is now dead
William K.   12/10/2013 6:37:37 PM
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Charles, it certainly is a serious publicity item and a real attention getter. So even if they never produce unit #1, they are probably getting their money's worth.

Charles Murray
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Re: This is now dead
Charles Murray   12/10/2013 6:08:58 PM
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I would love to see the facility where testing of this concept takes place. I'm curious how many engineers are involved and how much testing truly takes place. The buzz among commenters here (myself included) is that this was partially about publicity. But my impression is also that Amazon is making a pretty serious committment to studting this technology. What I'd like to know is how serious.

William K.
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Re: This is now dead
William K.   12/9/2013 8:07:20 PM
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The other challenge to this delivery method that I see is that criminals can order items using stolen credit card numbers, much as they presently do, and have an easy time of it grabbing the package as soon as the delivery craft departs. And nobody else would have a clue. And the more enterprising criminals might have another flying platform to snatch up the package as soon as the delivery platform leaves. That would take a bit more sophistication, but that is what criminals do these days.

Charles Murray
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Re: This is now dead
Charles Murray   12/9/2013 7:07:12 PM
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You're right about the package size, William K. The plan is to limit packages to under 5 lbs.  

Elizabeth M
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Re: Good analysis
Elizabeth M   12/9/2013 8:41:59 AM
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Exactly, Chuck, the ocotocopters have everyone buzzing, and quite a coup to release the news around the busy holiday gift shopping/delivery time. Bezos knows what he's doing. I still think it's a fascinating idea, though, if they can pull it off!

William K.
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Re: This is now dead
William K.   12/6/2013 8:42:24 PM
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Charles, the technology may be mostly available, but that does not mean that putting it all together will make something work well. But there are indeed a bunch of potential serious problems that are simply being ignored, or even denied. Finding the delivery target is probably the very easiest part, while getting there safely is a bigger challenge. And probably another challenge is that quite a few packages will simply be too heavy to ship that way, meaning that they will still need to have a delivery team for those items. 

William K.
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Re: This is now dead
William K.   12/6/2013 8:32:14 PM
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@habib, choosing to ignore the very real problems that come with some changes is not the way to avoid the problem. Rushing to implement some technology without considering the secondary and tertiary effects is not very smart. And just because something is projected to save time certainly does not mean that it benefits the rest of us. Most of the time the fastest way to do things does not produce the best results. Of course some things can get along well enough without getting the best results, but many other things can't. Perhaps you don't notice poor quality in a lot of things, but I usually do notice it.

And don't make such references to us more experienced folks just because we are able to see immediate as well as future problems in the implementation of some technologies. Some ideas that may seem great at first glance are really very poor choices. I have seen quite a few of those over the years. As a current example, consider the bundling of mortgages into packages marketed as securities. THAT is the invention that brought us into the passing depression.

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