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Wednesday 1 October 2014

Amazon drones: nine ways it could go horribly wrong

Daniel Johnson, Daily Telegraph

Published 03/12/2013 | 07:58

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Amazon is hoping to use drone aircraft called Prime Air for deliveries
Amazon is hoping to use drone aircraft called Prime Air for deliveries

Welcome to the future: Amazon is testing delivering packages using drones.

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said on Sunday the unmanned vehicles could deliver packages weighing up to five pounds (2.3kg), which represents roughly 86 per cent of packages Amazon delivers.

The drones will pick up items from Amazon's distribution centres and fly them to customer's homes using GPS, but only within a 10-mile radius. Mr Bezos admitted is "looks like science fiction" but said "we can do half-hour delivery".

Some have dismissed the announcement as a PR stunt, the typically grouchy Guardian among others, but what could be some of the terrifying consequences of the technology going wrong?

Here are nine potential disasters waiting to happen.

1) Hacking

We've had phone hacking, email hacking, computer hacking, so what's to stop drone hacking?

Those with nefarious intentions could obtain all your personal Amazon data by tapping into the delivery drone.

 

2) Package falls from the sky

It sounds like something out of Tom and Jerry, but if the reliability of Amazon's delivery times are anything to go by, then there's a good chance something mechanical on these drones will break eventually. Even worse, what happens if the batteries run out?

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And what will consumers be left with? It will be raining anonymous brown packages before you know it. Thank godness the packages being delivered will weigh a maximum of five pounds.

3) Theft

Just because something is airborne, that does not mean it is not susceptible to theft.

You can imagine hundreds of toy aircraft-trained criminals swarming around Amazon's distribution centres with their remote controls in hand, ready to seize upon drones taking off from their Amazon base.

There is also the simple fact that because it's unlikely Amazon's drones will be able to deliver packages through letter boxes, they will have to be placed outside a customer's house, as the company's video shows.

If a customer is not ready therefore, or the delivery is late, an opportunistic thief could be on hand to pinch the parcel and make a quick escape.

Thieves like the one below will be rubbing their hands with glee at the Amazon Prime announcement.

4) The weather

Telegraph.co.uk

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