Will An Amazon Drone Be Delivering Your Package Anytime Soon? You Decide!

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On Sunday, December 1st, Jeff Bezos the founder and CEO of retail giant Amazon sent shock waves across the nation with his announcement that within a few years, the company would be using aerial drones to make deliveries. Called Amazon Prime Air, it will be available to transport packages of up to five pounds within a ten miles radius of one of the company's numerous fulfillment centers.

Mr. Bezos then went on to demonstrate the service with an impressive video of an octocopter picking up a package from one of the centers and zipping it across town, all within 30 minutes of the customer hitting the 'buy' button! Not surprisingly, the announcement made headlines across the country, leading many skeptics to declare that it was just a marketing ploy to put Amazon in the limelight for Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year!

Even Mr. Bezos agrees that idea is a little audacious. Drone technology has to yet to be perfected and then are some basic safety issues that have to be addressed. Things like how the octocopters would avoid colliding with each other as they zip across the blue skies or even worse, injuring people, as they descend to make deliveries. Given that 86% of Amazon's sales comprise of small goods and the fact that every retailer will want to grab some air action, this could be a major hurdle to overcome.

If the US Federal Aviation Authority does sanction the drones for commercial use and experts think that is a big IF, there are numerous other issues that will still need to be resolved. Will the octocopters be able to handle changes in weather? How do you avoid the drones from being shot down or stolen as they descend to make deliveries? Will the drones have enough battery power to make the 20-mile round trip? Will they need special landing pads? Will . . .? And so on and so forth!

While the CEO is confident that these hurdles can be overcome and that as futuristic as it sounds, Amazon Prime Air will one day become a reality, others are not so sure. But the one thing that everyone does agree upon is that if anybody can pull it off, it will be Jeff Bezos, the visionary that transformed a simple online bookstore into one of the world's biggest retailers.

Though Amazon is the first company to dream of drone deliveries on such a large scale, it is by no means the pioneer. SF Express has been using them to deliver packages in Southern China on a limited basis since the beginning of the year. Australian textbook rental startup Zookai plans to start a similar service in Sydney, in 2014. Whether Amazon will be able to pull it off in the US, depends on what the strict Federal Aviation Authority thinks of the idea. Meanwhile, we will just have to be content with getting our precious packages delivered to us the old-fashioned way.

Resources: wired.com, cnn,com, cbs.com

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audaciouscontentcyber mondaydescendfuturisticpioneerploysanctionskepticsvisionary

Reading Comprehension (3 questions)

  1. What did the Jef Bezos announce on December 1st? What is the service going to be called? What is the maximum weight and distance it will be available for?
  2. How was the announcement received by the world? What are some of the hurdles that need to be overcome before the service can be implemented?

Critical Thinking Challenge

Using facts from the article and your general knowledge, make a case for...

  • letigerFriday, November 30, 2018 at 6:07 am
    I liked how it said that he will be using a drone to make a delivery that is very clever!
    • KRTigerThursday, November 29, 2018 at 9:42 am
      How do the drones find the right house!!??? It is AMAZING!!!!!!!!
      • st tigerThursday, November 29, 2018 at 9:26 am
        I had an amazing time reading this paragraph.
        • YCtigerWednesday, November 28, 2018 at 9:36 am
          what if the military needed something and it is far away?
          • jg tiiigerWednesday, November 28, 2018 at 7:45 am
            omg right
            • jg tiiigerWednesday, November 28, 2018 at 7:45 am
              how is it programed to do it??? and how does it find your house
              • CStigerTuesday, November 27, 2018 at 9:41 am
                How does it find the right house??? Also, what happens if you order something breakable??? And if you order food and it gets smashed, you might want your money back,like then and there.
                • KJHtigerTuesday, November 27, 2018 at 9:34 am
                  haw can the drone survive in the rain and the snow and other things because what if it crashes the drone?
                  • fptigerTuesday, November 27, 2018 at 7:47 am
                    Does the amazon drone have a built in G.P.S. ?
                    • esTigerTuesday, November 27, 2018 at 7:43 am
                      What inspired the company to have this idea and this plan?

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