Jun 15, 2017

Amazon figures out how to avoid hitting you with delivery drones

Amazon Prime Air

When Amazon began developing drone technology in 2013, critics doubted that it could replace delivery employees. Executives cited specific safety concerns: What if a package hit someone during the drop? What if a drone flew into a child or pet during delivery? For these reasons, Amazon might not trade humans for unsafe robot delivery crews.

  • But now it looks like your Amazon delivery job might not be safe from automation after all.
  • Why it matters: Amazon may become more efficient and profitable. But the company also pledged at the beginning of the year to hire 100,000 more employees by mid-2018. The jobs of the thousands of Amazon drivers may be at risk if drone technology continues to become more sophisticated.
  • The details: The most recently published patents, acquired by GeekWire, show a retractable cable that can safely lower packages to the ground while minimizing heavy swaying. Another update is a "virtual safety shroud" to protect young children from the drones hovering just above the ground. With the addition, propellers would have sensors to direct the drone to fly out of range, stop its propellers or signal a warning to avoid collision.
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