An idea with some serious buzz
Amazon’s dream of quickly delivering orders by drone are creeping closer to reality, with the first official drone delivery taking place in England on December 7th, according to a post and videos on an Amazon.com page dedicated to information about the service. Called Amazon Prime Air, the drone delivery service is still in development and only two lucky Brits are able to get their stuff by drone, including this guy, who apparently needed an Amazon Fire TV and some popcorn. The autonomous quadcopter drone dropped it off – literally – 13 minutes after he ordered it.
Amazon makes it very clear that the footage of the delivery is the real deal and not some CGI trickery, and in the FAQs on the page, say they hope that their delivery drones will someday be as common as mail trucks. In other videos on the page, including one featuring Top Gear, er, Grand Tour star Jeremy Clarkson, Amazon indicates it will be using a number of different types of drones, including a hybrid helo/airplane drone with a 15-mile range.
Amazon is still wrestling with U.S. regulators over drone delivery in the States, but with the pro-business Trump administration about to take office, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the skies fill up with dronebots dropping off everything from flat-screen TVs to pizzas in the coming years.
Could be a long meeting. Or not.
Speaking of the Trump administration, today is the day the President-Elect is meeting with a cadre of tech luminaries, and now comes news that one of tech’s brightest stars, Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk, is not only among those attending the meeting, he is also a Trump advisor. That’s right, Musk will join Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum, according to USA Today.
For tech watchers worried that Trump might somehow torpedo Musk’s electric car, solar power and space transport businesses since Musk was clearly not a Trump fan during the campaign, the news that Musk has The Donald’s ear is an odd surprise – but not a total shock.
Trump has made it clear that with the campaign over, he seems ready to partner up with just about anyone – frenemy or otherwise – he thinks will help steer the ship, but he seems to especially favor business leaders that he thinks can help grow the economy, and few if any have been as aggressive and successful on multiple fronts as Musk. We’ll have a recap of what went down at the Trump’s big tech meetup later today.
Drive us down Lombard Street AGAIN!
Along with Elon Musk, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will join Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum team, and we’d imagine he’ll have a lot to offer since Uber is leading the way on deploying autonomous car tech in the U.S. Uber has teamed with Volvo and Ford, with the robotic cars plying the roads of Pittsburg and now, Uber’s hometown of San Francisco. So far, the vehicles in service consist of heavily modified Ford Fusions and Volvo XC90 SUVs.
There’s still a human in the driver’s seat – and they’re engineers, no less – and they’ll take over the driving duties if the cars get overwhelmed or appear to be out of sorts. But for the most part, the cars will be doing the driving, and the tech teams are focusing on refining the self-driving systems to cope with weather changes and the myriad problems that can crop up when coping with heavy traffic consisting of cars driven by easily distracted human fleshbags.
Personally, we welcome our self-driving auto overlords, especially if they can get us to happy hour a little bit quicker.