In one of the world’s most advanced drone-delivery tests, sunscreen, coffee, and burritos arrive in minutes. So do complaints about noise.
Please consider Delivery Drones Cheer Shoppers, Annoy Neighbors, Scare Dogs.
Robyn McIntyre, who lives on the outskirts of Australia’s capital, was in her family room a few months ago when she thought she heard a “chain saw gone ballistic.”
It was actually a drone on its way to deliver a burrito or coffee as part of a test from Wing, which like Google is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. One recent day, she said delivery drones flew over her house about 10 times in 2½ hours, making it difficult to focus on working or reading the newspaper.
Drones could someday revolutionize e-commerce by cutting delivery times, reducing energy use and lowering costs. For now, they are dividing neighbors in the suburban neighborhood of Bonython, where one of the world’s most advanced drone-delivery tests has taken flight.
Irene Clarke, who is Ms. McIntyre’s neighbor, gets up to 10 deliveries a day. After she discovered that her sunscreen was out of date, she ordered a replacement via drone so she could quickly lather up her three young grandchildren. It arrived within seven minutes.
The convenience isn’t swaying members of Bonython Against Drones, a group of residents “united against noisy, intrusive, unnecessary drones,” according to its Facebook page. The organizers recently submitted a petition to the local legislative assembly. Politicians voted to launch an inquiry into drone deliveries and a committee will produce a report on the trial’s environmental and economic impacts.
“It is a suburb surrounded by bush,” said Nev Sheather, 68, who opposes the trial. “It is normally a very peaceful, quiet place. We have kangaroos hopping literally in the street.”
The drones, which have a wingspan of 3½ feet, are able to land themselves if a possible problem is detected. Out of about 2,000 flights to customers, there have been five such landings. One of those instances involved an ill-placed portable basketball hoop. Another landing occurred in high wind. One drone landed on a sidewalk because of a “flaw in the package construction.”
Massive Incentive to Eliminate Paid Drivers
Drone delivery of pizza and other fast food items will be faster, cheaper, and fresher than by car. The incentive to get rid of pizza delivery drivers is immense.
Nonetheless, drone delivery is much further along than I expected.
It's not that I thought the technology would fail, because it won't. Rather, a timely delivery of a bomb might stall drone progress for years.
Less fear over such happenings is likely why Australia is further along than the US.
Perhaps the ultimate solution is "friend or foe" technology in drones where any drone not registered is shot down on the spot by masses of constantly hovering government killer drones that track pizza orders.
Regardless, technology is advancing far faster than regulation. Then again, some want no regulations.
There's much to think about here, but I reiterate my long-stated position that millions of driving jobs will vanish far sooner than most expect.
The deflationary aspects are immense.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock