What I’m about to tell you is so crazy, you might just think you’ve incorrectly read, or that I’m making shit up, or you just stepped into an episode of Black Mirror or The Twilight Zone. Seriously, if while reading this you start to feel like you’re having an aneurism, no worries; it’s just your mindhole being blown right the fuck out of your head.*
No really, do I seem prone to exaggeration? (Wait, don’t answer that.) Let me just get right to the point. You know how cool you think Amazon Prime is, with its free deliveries that magically show up at your door two actual days after you ordered something? Heck, I’ve even experienced orders arriving early a time or two. Well, if you think two days is pretty darned good, how do you think you’ll feel about that whatjamawhozitz you really, really need arriving at your doorstep 30 minutes after you ordered it, and I’m not even talking about pizza or Chinese food; I’m talking actual packages like DVDs, David Bowie’s Blackstar on vinyl or that “personal massager” you need righttheforknow because your old one just broke right in the middle of a “massage.”
Now, prepare for your mindhole to entirely explode from your head because no, it’s not the post office or UPS or Fedex who’ll be dropping that box on your doorstep; it’ll be a…
Not quite, but you’re getting warmer.
As announced last year (but honestly, who believed them?) our precious package will be delivered by a drone. While you’re digesting that news, if you’re anything like me, what bits of brain left bouncing around in your head are wondering just what the sky is going to look like with a kazillionty little flying fuckers flying packages around the country, and how they’ll manage to not crash into other things or each other (drone wars!); whether they’ll be government regulated, if and when we can start sending our own drones with our own packages (fork the man!), what happens when the weather is bad, and on and on it goes, I’ll let Amazon’s own VP of global public policy, Paul Misener tell you about the (approximately 55 lb.) drones they’re building to carry packages under 5 lbs., aka Amazon Prime Air (which sounds more like the good stuff people like the Goopster probably breathe).
“…these are quite different than the drones that you can buy in a store and fly around. These are highly automated drones. They have what is called sense-and-avoid technology. That means, basically, seeing and then avoiding obstacles.
These drones are more like horses than cars — and let me explain why. If you have a small tree in your front yard, and you want to bang your car into it for some reason, you can do that. Your spouse might not be happy with you, but you can do it. But try riding a horse into the tree. It won’t do it. The horse will see the tree and go around it. Same way our drones will not run into trees, because they will know not to run into it.”
Misener says drones will be able to handle heading to different climates and types of dwellings (houses to skyscrapers), and if you’re worried about idiots like those gun-toting militia men in Oregon who might wanna shoot your shit out of the sky, he offers this philosophical thought.
“I suppose they could shoot at trucks, too.
We want to make the deliveries. And we believe that these Prime Air drones will be as normal as seeing a delivery truck driving down the street someday. So the novelty will wear off.”
Uh, never mind all that. Let’s focus on what’s important here: getting our packages flown home in thirty goddamned minutes. Lest you still think I might be making all this up, behold! Actual Flight Footage, NOT SIMULATED! Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson explains what to do next time Stewart eats Millie’s fancy soccer shoes.
Misener also believes the FAA and NASA “welcome the thought that has gone into” Prime Air and Amazon’s proposal, which has yet to be approved. Neither does he think the skies are too crowded (They can regulate commercial drones but don’t have full authority over amateur — Misener says there shouldn’t be a difference), or that a kazillionty buzzing drones will be at all problematic:
“Well, it’s not gonna be some science fiction, Hitchcock scenario; that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But if we design these correctly, they won’t be loud and obnoxious and noisy. It’s a really cool engineering challenge, it turns out. I mean, there are a bunch of challenges. But dampening the noise is one of them.”
Look, the bottom line here is that logistics aren’t our problem; they’re Amazon’s problem. And the other bottom line — yeah, I might have a thing for bottoms
— is that our shit (well, not actual shit shit) may soon be flying to our houses within thirty minutes of ordering it. And as you all well know, that means humanity’s doom will be delivered to our doorsteps shortly after we start enjoying that particular service.
Thanks Obama! (And Skynet.)
Misener provides more answers to questions like how much (they don’t know yet), when (they don’t know yet), what they’ll do if the FAA hasn’t approved when they’re ready (another country will get it first) and if it’s all really real (it is) here.
*Unless of course it really is an aneurism, in which case get your ass to the hospital, STAT.