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

    December 10, 2013
    Josh Wolford

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


Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf