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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.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's "overwhelming force" doctrine

President-elect Biden arrives to introduce his science team in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. 

The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months.

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear. Read episode 1.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.