Jeremy Clarkson saying ‘soccer’, a naughty dog and promises that seem too sky-high to be true…
In an FAQ page posted to Amazon’s official website yesterday, the company outlined its plans for its fancy new drone delivery system… but failed to address any of the main concerns consumers have with how the service will actually work.
Clarkson, in the video, explains how a drone will be dispatched when you place an order via Prime, carrying a care package of goods to a designated marker you place on the ground. Using a hybrid design, the drone can take off vertically (up to 400 feet) and travel to houses 10-15 miles away from Amazon warehouses.
In theory, this is an exciting development – it’s the realm of sci-fi, right? The Next Day Delivery Service for people that don’t have time to wait until the next day (we almost exclusively use Amazon Prime for last minute birthday presents, for example).
Thing is, as oddly calm as Clarkson is when he presents this drone reveal, he (and, by extension, Amazon) fail to address the two big things everyone’s been asking about any kind of drone delivery service:
1.) How is Amazon going to prevent the theft of drones and the packages they carry?
2.) How is Amazon going to create the supporting infrastructure necessary for such a service to exist?
There are few Amazon warehouses scattered throughout the UK, and an even sparser number in Europe – if a drone can only fly for under 30 minutes at a time, how does Amazon theorise delivering packages to more remote areas? Is it going to create waypoints or relays drones can pass packages along? Is the online giant going to simply create more warehouses?
Amazon rival Wal-Mart is investing heavily in drones, too, and considering the large amount of depots and stores the chain owns, we can see that system perhaps pipping Amazon to the drone-delivery post… at least in the short term.
Also, anyone has the ability to knock a drone out of the air and take what’s coming in – a Nintendo 3DS, a box of perfume, a set of headphones, a board game… no matter what it’s carrying, you could get your hands on it if you’ve got a big enough net. Or something.
Then there’s the presentation of the whole thing – it feels distinctly like an informercial, something very ‘un-Clarkson’. It’s heavily scripted, and Britain’s foremost gearhead seems – frankly – sarcastic in his delivery of the spiel. Maybe that’s intentional, or maybe it’s just the face of the new, non-BBC Clarkson, but either way… the whole video-advert just feels like a spoof of what the 80s would’ve seen as weird future sci-fi. Like this.