Tick here for delivery by drone

by Toby Manhire / 10 December, 2013
Amazon boss says packages will soon arrive by unmanned aerial vehicles. The internet raises its eyebrow.
It’s safe to say the super-saver rate won’t apply for the new extraordinary new air-mail service that online retailer Amazon hopes to offer within five years: delivery by drone.

CEO Jeff Bezos has told US television he hopes to see an “autonomous drone delivery scheme” up and buzzing within five years. The announcement sparked widespread astonishment and scepticism online – along with some rather good jokes.

A spoof Amazon flyer, headed “We attempted a drone delivery” was soon circulating, with a selection of tick boxes to explain the non-arrival: “No appropriate landing site could be found”, “The drone was running out of fuel so dropped your package in a field somewhere to reduce weight”, “Your package has been destroyed along with the drone after it strayed into restricted airspace”, or “Drone reached sentience and defected to join the machines in the upcoming revolution against mankind”.


(It’s not all that outlandish – DHL are currently testing a drone for medicine delivery, for example.)

Not to be outdone, Amazon’s UK rival, bookseller Waterstone’s, swiftly issued their own press release, unveiling “the Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service, a brand new way to receive your favourite books”.

The scheme, naturally, “consists of a fleet of specially trained owls that, either working individually or as an adorable team, will be able to deliver your package within thirty minutes”.

OWLS would not be available for a number of years, however, owing to the owl-training demands, “and we only just thought of it this morning”.

In the FAQ below, the big questions are put. Such as: “Q. Isn’t this how Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds began?” Relax: “A. The Birds is fiction, this is the real world. Everything will be fine.”

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