Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 2nd Dec 2013 23:52 UTC
In the News

We're excited to share Prime Air - something the team has been working on in our next generation R&D lab.

The goal of this new delivery system is to get packages into customers' hands in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles.

On the one hand, this is insanely cool, awesome, and scifi.

On the other hand, with timeframes like this and the big 60 Minutes reveal, it smells like a marketing trick during the holiday shopping season.

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No chance whatsoever
by Auzy on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 06:19 UTC
Auzy
Member since:
2008-01-20

I have a private pilot license, and I'm pretty sure this plan has NO hope whatsoever. I have spoken to other pilots about it, who don't believe Amazon have a hope in hell.

For starters, with Quadrocopters, if a motor fails, it becomes a 2KG falling brick. Even if you add a parachute, if it lands on your windshield whilst you are travelling at 100kph, good luck.

Ignoring all the privacy and falling risks, GPS can fail too (without RAIM, it cannot be relied on at all). VOR and NDB are used instead of GPS for navigation, but, they aren't super accurate, and work poorly at low altitude.

Will they fly above 500ft? (In which case, they become a risk to helicopters), or will they fly below 500ft (and become a risk to manmade structures and helicopters).

Not a chance, and the risks aren't outweighed by the benefits (the only benefit, is that its cool). It's one thing to fly a 200g AR drone made of foam around the room. It's another to carry a load.

Reply Score: 7

RE: No chance whatsoever
by Lennie on Wed 4th Dec 2013 18:32 in reply to "No chance whatsoever"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Maybe this will give you some more information:

"While the Australian flight authority still has to approve Zookal’s plans, commercial drones are allowed to fly within 122 meters (400 feet) of the ground."

"The city police where SF Express is testing its drones, which can fly as high as 100 meters, are so far permitting the drone flights."

http://qz.com/152788/australia-and-china-are-way-ahead-of-amazon-in...

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: No chance whatsoever
by oiaohm on Thu 5th Dec 2013 04:05 in reply to "No chance whatsoever"
oiaohm Member since:
2009-05-30

I have a private pilot license, and I'm pretty sure this plan has NO hope whatsoever. I have spoken to other pilots about it, who don't believe Amazon have a hope in hell.

If Australia is to go by this is incorrect

Will they fly above 500ft? (In which case, they become a risk to helicopters), or will they fly below 500ft (and become a risk to manmade structures and helicopters).


The answer is under 500ft well under. About 120ft clear of buildings and ground. Drones due to size can fly between manmade structures mostly without issue. Yes the airspace helicopters cannot safely use drones can. There should be very little airspace crossing between helicopters and drones. Helicopter getting close enough to hit a drone it most likely already too close to a building or something else.

Drones using modern sensors do have giro and accelerometers. So can use dead reckoning combined with proximity sensors so far. So the navigation issue is forgetting that GPS did not exist for a long time and craft had to deal with just on board sensors. Drones are able to use most of the old pre GPS navigation methods.

Reply Parent Score: 3