Is Amazon’s Drone Delivery a ‘Long-Term Fantasy’?

    December 10, 2013
    Josh Wolford
    Comments are off for this post.

Although Amazon claims that one day unmanned delivery drones will be “as normal as mail trucks,” one high-profile CEO isn’t really buying into it yet. eBay CEO John Donahoe is skeptical, and thinks that delivery drones are a “long-term fantasy.”

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Donahoe was asked about Amazon’s recent announcement that they want to start delivering small packages to customers’ doors with unmanned delivery drones (as soon as possible, pending FAA approval). After a quick chuckle, Donahoe responded with a pretty clear dismissal.

“Now, Amazon made a lot of headlines a few days ago talking about delivery by drone – they’re working on octocopters. Are you gonna show me an octocopter today? I was sorta hoping I’d see one,” said Bloomberg TV’s Emily Chang.

“No, we’re not really focusing on long-term fantasies – we’re focusing on things that will change consumers’ experience today,” said Donahoe.

“So you think it’s a long-term fantasy?” said Chang.

“We’ll see.”

But to Amazon, the tech is no fantasy.

“It looks like science fiction, but it’s real. From a technology point of view, we’ll be ready to enter commercial operations as soon as the necessary regulations are in place,” says Amazon.

Other companies would disagree with Donahoe – take UPS for instance. They’re testing drone delivery. You know who else is interested in drone delivery? Pizza chains.

Donahoe isn’t scoffing at innovation or anything. In fact, he says that “moonshot” ventures and technical innovation are important.

“I think bold innovation is important,” he says. “But our focus on our bold innovation is around commerce. So the notion of making a storefront window a touchscreen? I’d call that bold innovation. The notion of saying you can get a product delivered to you within an hour? I’d call that a bold innovation.”

Donahoe is referring to a couple of recent eBay experiments – Shoppable Windows in New York City and eBay Now, which first began in San Francisco a little over a year ago and has since expanded.

What do you think? Are Amazon’s drones a pipe dream? Are they the future of delivery?

Image via Amazon

  • Fantasy?

    Delivering products by drone may be a fantasy. I mean it really isn’t practical. So many liability issues. Plus, people like to get out of the house. It is getting to the point that we do everything by the computer …. nothing is real. I can find a wife, get my food, and heck even see a doctor without leaving my house. It is really sad.

    I do want to caution your readers out there. Drones are coming. I know right now of the push to get drones into the hands of all local, county, and state police forces. This is very scary. It is Orwellian. In fact, everything in 1984 is happening now. People might think this stuff is harmless, but it isn’t.

  • Fantasy?

    Oh yeah, by the way, on this website in an article below, there is an article about how 18 police officers abused their power in just one sheriff’s office alone. Could you imagine what abuses could occur if you gave those 18 officers control of drones? The abuses are endless. Everything from stalking the hot girl down the road to staking out houses to rob to transporting drugs. I worked for a prison once doing maintenance. The officers would use the security cameras to look down the dresses of women in the visitation room. Even the female officers would use the technology inappropriately. Now can you see those fools with drones? Scary thought. Don’t tell me they would be tightly controlled either. The police station down the road from me put cameras throughout the entire place except in one place — the evidence room. Yep, you guessed it …. the cops were robbing the evidence room and “losing” evidence on purpose.

  • Paul Walker

    Who would trust the opinion of a guy who helped “destroy” eBay? Try to sell something in that piece of crap. You’d be really lucky if you sell it there.

    No drone delivery is not a long term fantasy. If the drone got destroyed in the way there by the sun, yes, maybe. It made it and delivered the package. Now all it takes to become reality is throw some money in the right places and start invading the skies.