It’s one thing to use drones to track down terrorists like Osama Bin Laden so SEAL Teams can dispatch them; it’s another thing for drones to be flying all over the place on behalf of the commercial packaging companies, delivering everything from parts for a washing machine manufacturer to a shipment of iPods to an inner-city school.
Can you imagine the chaos with all these things flying around? Let’s hope the latest technology includes enabling them to see cars and pedestrians, trees and telephone lines, not to mention each other. What if this technology evolves into flying automobiles? Motorists already have problems running into each other on the ground.
What about current air traffic? How will Amazon and other companies be able to comply with current air traffic rules? What a mess. The skies will look like something out of a Star Wars movie.
On the other hand, that’s probably what people said when cars and planes were invented. An early story of our area tells of a young lady who drove her motor car at an excessive speed, merrily racing down Main Street until she ran into a fence or pole. Enough accidents occurred then the regulators went to work posting speed limits, painting lines on the roads (in addition to paving them), and adding traffic patrolman to restore order to the roadways.
Pilots, from the beginning, had to file flight plans. The Amazon drones of their day, the freight clipper pilots had a dangerous job, often flying in bad weather wearing only leather helmets and goggles in an open cockpit. Technological advancements made flying safer and more comfortable than it was. Once upon a time, flight attendants were called stewards and stewardesses and served drinks and meals. Hard to believe that’s now ancient history.
The real problem for Amazon may be that crooks will find a way to shoot down the drones and steal the merchandise. Let’s hope they’ve taken that factor into account. If you can invent automated flying drones for cargo delivery, like in a Star Wars movie, you can develop a force field or laser shield to protect your investment.
We balk at these drones just like yokels of a century or two ago at the sight of the first airplane: If Man was meant to fly, God would have given him wings. Man wound up landing on the Moon. If Merchandise was meant to fly, independently, God wouldn’t have invented gravity. Instead, Man learned to make airplanes in which to fly and ship merchandise.
We’ve taken the next flap into a strange, new world.