back to article The return of (drone) robot wars: Beware of low-flying freezers

There was a time when I used to spend my free hours looking for a man. Oh yes, many a day I’d hang about aimlessly for hours, just waiting for the right man to turn up. Sometimes I’d look for a man in uniform, other times he’d in civvies, but all I wanted was the kind of man who would – well, how can I put this? – “deliver the …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Terminator

    Like the photo of the Starship

    Grandad standing up to the robot overlords. It'll be as famous as those sixties photos with hippie chicks standing in front of riot police with flowers.

  2. LDS Silver badge
    Joke

    I always hoped Amazon was true to its name...

    ... and had deliveries made by true amazons... <G>

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: I always hoped Amazon was true to its name...

      ... using invisible planes?

    2. MrDamage

      Re: I always hoped Amazon was true to its name...

      Followed by Death by Snusnu?

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: I always hoped Amazon was true to its name...

        Snusnu!

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I always hoped Amazon was true to its name...

      "deliveries made by true amazons"

      Rather you than me. They were a pretty rough crowd.

      1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

        Re: I always hoped Amazon was true to its name...

        Maybe he just has a fetish for women with one breast removed.

  3. Warm Braw Silver badge

    The return details are sealed in a bag on the underside.

    What's the betting they're unreadable owing to the visceral leakage from the mammalian remains directly beneath which may once have been an urban fox or, possibly, Mrs Next Door in her best fake fur. Still, at least you won't have to dig another hole...

  4. dkjd

    I thought that fat women jokes stopped when Les Dawson retired?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plenty of places in London where you can get a delivery to the street corner.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Joke

      Or get something from one anyway, possibly via a dingy back-alley...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Plenty of places in London where you can get a delivery to the street corner.

      Plenty of pub deliveries available too, but they usually come with a demand for cash payment and without any discernible warranty :)

  6. Marc 25

    "the UK – a country where gun ownership is tightly restricted and its citizens are happy and willing to have every fucking second of their private lives filmed because they already live in a corrupt police state with the Big Brother-like cosh of closed-circuit TV on every street corner."

    Not all of us are "happy and willing", but apparently we live in a democracy and stupid people are entitled to vote too

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Street Cameras on every corner?

      WTF?

      Like hell they are.

      Sodding Media embiggening the falacy.

      The nearest CCTV Camera to me is wll over 4 miles away. Every street corner my ass.

      Even that is avoidable if you think about it.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Street Cameras on every corner?

        So you didn't bat an eyelid at the idea that all US citizens are constitutionally bound to shoot each other, but you do take umbrage at the idea of every street corner having a camera?

        Perhaps you should avoid any media where they might use exaggeration for comic affect, it clearly doesn't agree with you.

      2. Josco

        Re: Street Cameras on every corner?

        There are reckoned to be over 6 million CCTV cameras in use by the authorities in the UK, never mind the number of personal and business systems. By one estimate people in urban areas of the UK are likely to be captured by about 30 surveillance camera systems every day. That's systems, not individual cameras.

        Big brother is in the house.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Street Cameras on every corner?

          There are reckoned to be over 6 million CCTV cameras in use by the authorities in the UK, never mind the number of personal and business systems. By one estimate people in urban areas of the UK are likely to be captured by about 30 surveillance camera systems every day. That's systems, not individual cameras.

          And not ONE camera pointing the other way. Strange, that, no?

        2. JaitcH
          Happy

          Re: Street Cameras on every corner? BEAT THEM!

          Many of these cameras use Infra-Red - especially the number plate readers/loggers.

          The solution to this Big Brother problem lies in the ubiquitous Infra-Red 3 watt LED.

          Surrounding your number plate with several of these 3-watt LEDs, with a couple placed in the centre of the plate as 'dummy' mounting screws, effectively 'blinds' IR cameras. Modulating them at 4-10 Hz increases their effectiveness.

          Wearing a US-style baseball cap with 5mm IR LEDs scattered around the top of the 'peak' blinds cameras effectively, too. And, being IR, emit no visible light for Plod to see (unless they use a smartphone camera to view you).

          1. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: Street Cameras on every corner? BEAT THEM!

            Um, the infra-red LEDs are highly directional, so I disbelieve this clever way to fool cameras.

            If you want to fool the IR cameras you really need not a ring of LEDs but a ceramic grid overlay heated by about a dozen forced air/gas jets.

            Or you could go the other way: drizzle your number plate with liquid helium.

            Or just remove the plates and if stopped do the "Cor blimey, I've been robbed!" routine.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Street Cameras on every corner? BEAT THEM!

              > Um, the infra-red LEDs are highly directional, so I disbelieve this clever way to fool cameras.

              Might be true for some specific LED, but all (IR) LEDs aren't created equal.

              140 degrees isn't what I'd call 'highly directional': http://www.ledfedy.com/products/1w-3w-led/3w-led/3w-ir-led-940nm-double-chip-with-star-pcb-745.html

              120 degrees: https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/High-Quality-1W-3W-5W-High_615133918.html?spm=a2700.7724857.0.0.WRBJCg&s=p

              135 degrees: https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/China-Supplier-good-price-Epileds-Chip_60376879496.html?spm=a2700.7724857.0.0.WRBJCg

              If one wants directionality out of this style of LEDs, there are lenses that fit on top: https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/High-power-and-quality-3w-led_1431620067.html?spm=a2700.7724838.0.0.wQslxx

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Street Cameras on every corner? BEAT THEM!

            Many of these cameras use Infra-Red - especially the number plate readers/loggers.

            The solution to this Big Brother problem lies in the ubiquitous Infra-Red 3 watt LED.

            Ah, the benefit of being a bit older.. I have bad news for you - if the police spots this you'll be facing quite a fine. Someone *way* too smart to work in civil service came up with the bright idea of leaving out any specifics in law, so anything you do that renders a license plate unreadable will get you a fine, including IR blinding. Worse, the chances of you getting caught with such tech are increasing because the number of ANPR equipped cars is going up, and they are unfortunately manned..

    2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      I don't recall there being any voting on either CCTV or gun control ...

      1. Fritzr
        Big Brother

        No worries, your MP took care of it ... the government does not want you to bother yourself about these minor issues ... you will be given a carefully edited rundown on all that your MP has done for you when the next election is called so you will know how carefully your MP has safeguarded your interests and wishes to continue doing so.

  7. Ian Emery Silver badge

    Even in 2016

    Adults riding bicycles on the pavement is not allowed - unless there is a clearly marked cycle lane.

    Note I said "bicycles", I was seen a few twats riding motorbikes on the pavement.

    As for fat women in mobility scooters - I agree - 75% of the scooters I see are being driven by fat women in their 30s/40s; who are too lazy to walk to the bus stop.

    1. Toltec

      Re: Even in 2016

      Anyone riding bicycles on the pavement is not allowed, however no one appears to have told the cyclists.

      Then again speeding is not allowed either, allegedly.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Even in 2016

        A stick through the spokes has been known to provide education.

      2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Even in 2016

        [Expletive deleted] pedestrians deliberately blocking my path and telling me not to ride a bicycle on the pavement. A few have the grace to apologise when I ask them not to obstruct the cycle path. Lane markings, a picture of a bicycle painted on the path and the white bicycle in a blue circle sign, yet pedestrians still cannot spot a cycle path.

        [I know there are inconsiderate cyclists, but there are also inconsiderate drivers and inconsiderate pedestrians. No one group has a monopoly on stupid.]

        1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

          Re: Even in 2016

          Don't forget the motorcyclists!

          Hint - if the person in front of you can see the underside of your motorcycle in their mirrors as you accelerate towards them - You're a cunt.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Even in 2016

            if the person in front of you can see the underside of your motorcycle in their mirrors as you accelerate towards them

            .. but it saves on front tyre wear, though ..

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Even in 2016

          "No one group has a monopoly on stupid" . hmmm maybe.

          Does seem to me that 99.9999999999% of taxi, van, BMW, Audi and name-a-brand-GTi ( especially red ones ) drivers drive like idiots. I never say they ALL drive like idiots just 99.9999999999% of them.

          As for pedal cyclists, it usually is the ones in lycra that are idiots.

    2. John 110

      Re: Even in 2016

      I want to upvote you for the "twats on motorbikes" but downvote you for the "too lazy to walk to the bus stop". Now I'm confused.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Even in 2016

        I want to upvote you for the "twats on motorbikes" but downvote you for the "too lazy to walk to the bus stop". Now I'm confused.

        I'd say downvote, because he leaves it hanging how they'll get on the bus with those scooters..

    3. Karl H

      Re: Even in 2016

      The issues I have on the pavements up in the City of London aren't cyclists or mobility scooters.

      My issues are :

      1) Families walking 5 abreast at about 0.000005 MPH

      2) Drunken crowds of stationary nicotine addicts entirely blocking the pavement outside pubs, forcing me into the road.

      3) Businesses that are allowed to put sandwich boards blocking significant sections of the pavement

      So a few drones to sort these issues out would be a vote winner with me ;)

  8. Ironclad
    Thumb Up

    Top stuff...

    ... Mr Dabbs sir,

    Brightened my day and had me chortling like a naughty schoolboy (no, not a euphemism).

  9. Dr_N Silver badge

    Waiting around for home deliveries?

    Amateurish.

    Buying online is what the work's address is for.

    Returns are even better (here in France) because the postgirl comes round at 3pm to pick up them up.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Waiting around for home deliveries?

      Having a fridge delivered to your work address may not looks so smart as intended - unless your already plan to return it when you order it.

      1. Dr_N Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Waiting around for home deliveries?

        "Having a fridge delivered to your work address may not looks so smart as intended - unless your already plan to return it when you order it."

        You'd also have to take your old fridge into work for them to take it away.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Waiting around for home deliveries?

      "the postgirl comes round at 3pm"

      She really shouldn't spend the morning drinking.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Waiting around for home deliveries?

        > She really shouldn't spend the morning drinking.

        Well - this *is* France y'know. It's probably Absinthe and she's only just stopped seeing green faries..

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Waiting around for home deliveries?

      Returns are even better (here in France) because the postgirl comes round at 3pm to pick up them up.

      Now I'm wondering if your enthusiasm is for the delivery quality, or the person delivering..

    4. JaitcH
      Happy

      Re: Waiting around for home deliveries?

      VietNam Post insists on delivery to the recipients hand (bunch of thieves in the streets makes this imperative).

      Our local P.O. will send you an SMS if the addressees Cell Number is appended to their name. This is really great for all parties involved.

      My unofficial arrangement with the local P.O. Sorting Office, which serves 7,000,000+ people, is that they will leave me a SMS message and I can collect it at the Sorting Office Sunday through Friday!

      Better than the (new) Royal Mail.

    5. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

      Re: Waiting around for home deliveries?

      About 20 years ago at work, of an evening, I ordered an electronic doodad from a company 2,000 miles away. Since it was already late, I caught some winks and woke up the next morning to find the doodad being delivered to the office door. For a while I thought that maybe somebody had spiked my vegetable juice. Honest, ma, I wouldn't ingest any substance that would defile the holy temple of my brain. The brain isn't dead until God says it's dead. Anyway, later I came to understand that vendors may have one or possibly multiple warehouses not at their nominal place of business and that they have doodads delivered from a warehouse that might actually be quite close to your office, sod the 2,000 miles.

      Windows (er, the windows that we don't hate) can have a coating that is claimed to reflect IR light but obviously allows visible light to pass. If, of an evening, one wishes to malefact about, but have one's licence plate be invisible to IR cameras, could one not apply a spray-on version of said stuff, and wipe it off later, with the minimum chance of detection? If only one could wipe off all one's miscues with the Minimum Chance of Detection (TM) cloth. Though one supposes that if one is prepared to go to that degree of bother, then other solutions might be more effective.

      1. Black Betty

        Re: Security by obscurity

        A low tech handful of thrown mud is a lot more deniable.

        BTW AFAIK those IR reflective coatings are a film, not a spray.

  10. NG87

    brilliant, wont it be hilarious if in a few years/decades we look back at this article and its all true

  11. xeroks

    speakers

    What is it with white vans selling speakers?

    That's happened to me too. Is it just that the normal venues for that kind of transaction - ropey pubs - don't allow people to walk in with a stack of nicked/fake speakers?

    1. Throatwobbler Mangrove

      Re: speakers

      The speakers weren't fake or stolen - they were just rubbish

      The fact the guys were in a van was supposed to give you the impression they were stolen and you could get a good deal if you didn't look too quickly and paid cash now

      1. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

        Re: speakers

        Throatwobbler Mangrove, don't denigrate this method of marketing. I got a great set of Kuss speakers that way. They're the dug's nugs for playing gronge ruck.

  12. Novex

    But shirley...

    ...direct drone delivery is a still born idea. I much prefer the idea of having delivery lockers at strategic places around when stuff can be dropped off by WVM and I can go and collect, and that's already happening. Drones might replace WVM to get stuff to the lockers, though said drones might struggle to get items into the lockers, but isn't that what university graduates are for?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: But shirley...

      "I much prefer the idea of having delivery lockers at strategic places around when stuff can be dropped off"

      Yes, me too. They've been around for years and new networks are popping up in even more locations.

      We experimented with them for field engineers parts maybe 10 years ago. The guys got an email with a code, went to the lockers, entered the code and one would open with their box of parts inside. The downside was that they tended to not be in the places we needed them to be, ie railway stations, city centre petrol stations etc. whereas courier depots tend to be on less congested areas so we went back to sending parcels as "To Be Collected" addressed to the depot. There were also times where the consignment didn't fit in the largest locker or required two or more lockers. It might be time to look again at this.

    2. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

      Re: But shirley...

      > Drones might replace WVM to get stuff to the lockers, though said drones might struggle to get items into the lockers, but isn't that what university graduates are for?

      No, that's what university Mathematics graduates are for.

  13. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Holmes

    Ah Amazon!

    The world’s biggest mail-order operation and arch tax-avoider Amazon

    Don't for get the packaging. You can't forget the packaging. They rival HP/Dell in the size and amount of packaging they use when shipping mostly air to you.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Ah Amazon!

      Unless you order a hard drive, in which case they stick it in an envelope.

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Ah Amazon!

      The other day I ordered a phone battery from Amazon. The battery fits inside my phone and that fits in my pocket, so there should have been no problem getting it through the letterbox. But in the event I had to waste Saturday morning travelling to a depot to collect a 6in x 8in box.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Ah Amazon!

        to collect a 6in x 8in box.

        Given its infinite thinness, they were afraid you wouldn't spot it if you glanced at it sideways, and then complain about a delivery gone missing.

      2. david bates

        Re: Ah Amazon!

        Oh I can beat that.

        a micro-SD card packaged in such a way that it wouldn't fit through a standard letterbox and had to be left with a neighbour.

        When they did the same trick with a DVD and offered to deliver it the next day I cancelled the order...

  14. bentaylor

    Maybe

    the drones can pick locks too. Sure beats UK Fail trying to push my gate off its hinges just to make a delivery.

  15. Christoph Silver badge
    Boffin

    Deliver by underground conveyor

    When are we going to get the underground conveyor belts that Hugo Gernsback predicted more than a century ago in Ralph 124C 41+?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Deliver by underground conveyor

      "When are we going to get the underground conveyor belts that Hugo Gernsback predicted more than a century ago in Ralph 124C 41+?"

      ...and for those of us old enough to remember, also turned up in Rupert Bear, where the country was connected by a secret network of underground conveyors? I remember that from a Rupert Bear annual, as my father wouldn't have the Excess in the house.

      Drones. I'm already working on a simple electronic countermeasure, all I need is a big enough capacitor and a big enough magnetron. The Government seems to feel that, rather than expanding Heathrow itself, the benefits of living under its flightpaths should be extended to the whole country.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Deliver by underground conveyor

        @ Voyna i Mor, The simplest 'electronic' counter measure I can think of; would be an 18650 Lithium battery combined with a 3" magnum 12 bore projector. Ought to be good for about a hundred metres but not sure about accuracy.

        1. Alistair Dabbs

          Re: Deliver by underground conveyor

          I take it you are not aware that London's three big Royal Mail sorting offices were connected by a private underground railway. Royal Mail stopped using it when they decided to make its delivery service shit, and I hear that the new owners when the business got sold off (on the cheap) did not even realise they had bought a secret underground railway along with the buildings.

          There was talk a couple of years ago about opening it up as a tourist attraction but I haven't heard anything since.

          1. Dan McIntyre

            Re: Deliver by underground conveyor

            How have I never heard of this before? I've just spent some time (at work natch!) looking at that sight and am impressed.

            1. Alien8n Silver badge

              Re: Deliver by underground conveyor

              Wasn't just the Royal Mail. Back in the Victorian Era there was an entire railway network dedicated to delivering your coffin (occupied) to the cemetery at the outskirts of London. Said railway line was monikered the Necropolis Line and you could buy 1st, 2nd and 3rd class tickets for it. Check out the amazing song Third Class Coffin by The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing (it's on YouTube and Spotify). Actually just check out the band in general, most of their songs are equally hilarious and educational at the same time.

  16. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "my package had been left behind the bins."

    They lied. It wasn't behind the bins. It was in the bins. Not your bins, the neighbour's. Now work out which neighbour.

    Our standing instructions with Amazon are to leave it in the greenhouse. The greenhouse is perfectly visible across the drive opposite the front door. The last time we had a delivery whilst we were out it was left in the neighbour's greenhouse which isn't even visible from the road.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge
      Stop

      > They lied. It wasn't behind the bins. It was in the bins.

      No such luck. The place I order wine from (boxes prominently displaying their name and that the boxes contain wine) using such a brain-dead courier that he can't even read simple instructions (leave at the side of the house, behind the bins - it would require him to take an extra ten steps or so).

      No - instead, he leaves a case of decent wine on my doorstep, in full view of the street. And pushes the aforementioned card through the door (ignoring the post box on the wall - fortunately PostEating dog is no more) to say that the wine is by the front door. The fact that I would have had to either move it or trip over it doesn't seem to have drifted across whatever few neurons he still has functioning..

      Not that I'm bitter or anything. Any wine that goes AWOL gets replaced for free by the vendor - I just have to make sure I build an extra week into the order cycle to make sure I don't get left without essential supplies. I did however email the supplier and courier a picture of one of the delivery cards alongside the delivery instructions and invited them to comment. The supplier sent me a £10 voucher..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It wasn't behind the bins. It was in the bins

      Thay did that for a delivery that my Mum-in-law was waiting for. It was bin day, the card was there but the delivery had gone to the landfill...

    3. D@v3

      Left behind the bins....

      Amazons current trend for my deliveries (that don't come to work) is to deliver them next door, to the house that has no noticeable number on it, even when I am home, and then not stick a card through the door. More than once, my email has pinged to say my parcel (letter box sized) has been delivered "through letterbox" when it clearly hasn't.

      Fortunately, I am good terms with my neighbours, and they seem not to mind playing depot.

  17. Rich 11 Silver badge

    as its eight spinning razor-like rotors shredded the cat

    Ah, an up-side to the entire sorry business.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      > Ah, an up-side to the entire sorry business.

      Bah. (See posting name)

    2. LDS Silver badge

      It would need to be really fast and agile to get the cat. IMHO there's better chances it could return home with a cat taking a nap inside...

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        I can see that becoming a common enough occurrence for Amazon Warehouse/despatch and cat rescue centres.

        Just because humans wander about in a fog of their own thoughts doesn't mean other animals are as unwary, especially cats.

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

          as its eight spinning razor-like rotors shredded the cat

          Or in the case of my cat and his recent antics in the last few weeks (3 squirrels, 2 pigeons and copious amounts of mice), more likely we'd find bits of the drone in a trail going into the house, up the stairs and into his favourite hidey-hole for munching on stuff he's caught (or probably trying to in this case, as I doubt drones are that appetizing).

          Not sure quite what state the local wildlife is in, but he seems to have brought everything bar a Pokémon in over the last month or so...

          1. LDS Silver badge
            Joke

            Maybe you have a cloud connected pet feeder? I'd check it.... your cat looks hungry and angry...

          2. Stoneshop Silver badge

            into his favourite hidey-hole for munching on stuff he's caught

            There's a reason my desk bears a Dymo label "Restaurant Les Souris".

            (or probably trying to in this case, as I doubt drones are that appetizing).

            [x] torn off its wings (rotor blades), [x] ripped open its belly, [x] spread out its entrails over half a square meter and [x] look extremely smug.

            he seems to have brought everything bar a Pokémon in over the last month or so...

            Have you checked his smartphone?

  18. Teiwaz Silver badge

    'many voters have a financial interest'

    About the only excerpt that did not ring 100% true in the whole piece.

    Excellent as always.

  19. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    Drone Delivery? Sign me up!

    Let's see. How to design the perfect delivery service.

    a) Only deliver between 9 and 5, when no-one will be home.

    b) Insist on a signature, but accept a scribble from any semi-sentient being that happens by, with no thought to their actual identity.

    c) If no-one is home to accept delivery, attempt again the next day, at the same time.

    d) If your company has a nearby retail outlet, refuse to drop the parcel there for pickup, because "only the recipient is allowed to sign for it."

    e) Or just return the parcel to the courier depot an hour away at back of the airport.

    The sole saving grace for United Parcel Service is our local driver, who cheerfully bends or breaks UPS rules when it helps the customer.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Drone Delivery? Sign me up!

      additional for a uk delivery company beginning with 'Y' with delivery staff who only fill in the time on their mostly green delivery cards if you're not there, leaving you to guess who the missed delivery was for, if it was for the address at all, and where the package is now.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Drone Delivery? Sign me up!

      Meh, UPS tried that crap on me. They wanted me to drive 18 miles in a particularly bad part of town to pick up my package. Having done it once and been subjected to a complete Laurel and Hardy routine of "whez da box?" I declined to do it again.

      They were shocked when I said "no thanks, go ahead and return the package to the sender, since you can't be bothered to do your job and actually deliver it" - shocked enough so that they actually arranged delivery when I was home. They've since dropped the signature rule (at least for me) unless the sender actually insists on it for a particularly valuable package.

      1. Phil.T.Tipp
        Thumb Up

        Re: Drone Delivery? Sign me up!

        "whez da box?" slapstic chaos

        lolz and upvote for putting the Laurel and Hardy theme tune in my head again. I sometimes whistle it at work when various mouth-breathers are out on patrol - they have no idea.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQqC6_6Wf0M

  20. You aint sin me, roit
    Black Helicopters

    SkyNet in through the back door...

    "With the increase in drones flying around would you like to protect your property with a local area air defence system?"

    "Only if it port-forwards web access via my home router so I can control it with my phone!"

    "Of course, and it can link with other systems in your neighbourhood via the cloud to provide an enhanced defence network protecting the skies - we call it SkyNet."

  21. DCLXV

    More than a little

    It's a vicious cycle. Customers are unwilling to pay too much for shipping knowing how unreliable all the logistics companies are in general, and the companies are unwilling to provide the promised service to the expected standard because we're all trying to be first in the race to the bottom anyway.

  22. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Optional

    "So Amazon realised it had better run trials in the UK – a country where gun ownership is tightly restricted and its citizens are happy and willing to have every fucking second of their private lives filmed because they already live in a corrupt police state with the Big Brother-like cosh of closed-circuit TV on every street corner."

    Whoa! Alistair, be careful. You got serious there for a second. Have a lie-down and it will pass.

    "Unfortunately, after the first dozen cats, the rescue centre refused to let me have any more."

    OK, that made me snort my tea. Or would have, had I been drinking tea just then and not eating frozen lasagna. (Reheated. Hah, headed that off!) Fortunately I managed to avoid snorting that, it sounds even less fun than the tea. Close call, though.

    "Now, of course, with the addition of courier traffic, there is no room left for humans travelling on foot..."

    What are you on about? You don't need the sidewalk. Instead of popping down to the local market, you order from the Internet and hang about your house waiting for delivery. Duh. SO much more convenient. You get more exercise anyway, pacing while gesticulating angrily. Though blood pressure could be a problem.

  23. Chris G Silver badge

    Chicken, egg. Egg, chicken.

    So, do fat birds who are too lazy to walk, buy mobility scooters?

    Or, do women who are too lazy to walk, buy mobility scooters and subsequently become fat?

    Come Drone World there shouldn't be any fat birds out on scooters, they can order everything by drone and won't have to leave the house.

  24. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Coat

    Danger, Will Robinson!

    If ground-based robot delivery systems just barged past cars parked on the pavement*, ripped their entire sides off in the process, shredded their tyres, then I might be inclined to welcome them.

    In fact, when I finish my own fridge-styled 'harbinger of death and destruction', I might be inclined to stick an Amazon logo on it and let it loose.

    * Sidewalk for our American friends, because I believe "pavement" over there means "road", and I might otherwise seem 'a little extreme' without explaining that. I am not however going to explain "sticky buns" nor "having a fag".

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Danger, Will Robinson!

      Many people in America treat the sidewalk as a road, so the distinction is somewhat academic.

  25. PickledAardvark

    Before the Berlin Wall was demolished...

    ...I took an Aeroflot plane on which passengers brought on fridges as hand luggage.

  26. ecofeco Silver badge

    Excsue me sir...

    ....I see you don't have a licensed drone delivery landing area (LDDLA).*

    We'll have to write you up for that.

    *say it fast. You'll get it.

  27. 404 Silver badge

    Can't wait...

    Everything else you can buy at Amazon... zero issues. Auto parts? Nope, not happening, no way, no how. Just don't bother because whomever packs these boxes could give a flying fuck.

    Last shipment score was 4-$10 Denso iridium spark plugs cracked, 1 dented oil filter, wrong viscosity Mobil1 synthetic oil, all packed in the same box, loose. Between Amazon India support and Amazon US support 'correcting' the issue, ended up with 7 broken Denso spark plugs, 3 oil filters, one dented, six makeup brushes broken (don't ask me, wife slipped those in there somehow), and one Denso spark plug refunded. I gave up after the next three spark plugs arrived broken, so I packed everything up in one box and shipped it back, which caused issues with their refund system, because you can only have 'X' amount of refunds per shipment, and blah fucking blah...

    3 weeks later, everything is straight - Moral of Story: Don't buy auto parts from Amazon.

    Why did I tell you all this? How much trouble\laws broken if you detained a drone for improper shipment of paid-for goods?

    Asking for a friend...

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Can't wait...

      There are few things where I'd generally advise going to a specialized store, but car parts is one of those things. Oddly enough it usually ends op being cheaper too.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Can't wait...

      I remember going "what the hell" and ordering water heaters. Yes, these are the (usually) 55gal 6ft tall 150lb-or-so cylindrical things that supply hot water to the house. That was fun.

      They shipped them in a thin coating of cardboard and no actual packing, somehow expecting them to arrive in a roughly cylindrical shape.

      I enjoyed the hell out of photographing the resulting carnage and emailing said photos to the Amazon return center.

      After about 4 such failures, I notice they're no longer generally available on Amazon.

      Yes, I was bored. It was a couple weeks of free entertainment. I did eventually buy a water heater locally.

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: Can't wait...

        Those aren't water heaters. Those are heat exchangers, or heat stores. The heater is a separate component.

    3. david bates

      Re: Can't wait...

      COULDN’T FFS....It's REALLY not hard...

      1. Swarthy Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Can't wait...

        COULDN’T FFS....It's REALLY not hard...

        No, the OP had it right - They could give a fuck, but they don't.

  28. JLV Silver badge

    about the title...

    With the huge popularity of all things drone, wouldn't a show that does Robot Wars a la Von Richtoffen have huge potential?*

    * don't try it - I have already registered Business Method Patent US 6933152 B, registered in Delaware and filed in East Texas.

  29. a pressbutton
    Holmes

    Drones are limited in use

    Do you live in a flat - no drones for you

    Do you live in the sticks - no drones for you

    Do you live in a 'nice place' where planning is tightly controlled - no drones for you

    Do you live near any sensitive building (hospital / school / police station/ prison/ embassy / power station /........ ) - no drones for you

    In any case

    20 years after we worked out that if you want to call someone, call their mobile, not their house

    I hope we are starting to learn that if you want to deliver a package to someone, deliver it to them, not their house.

  30. Mephistro Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Alistair, ...

    ... this article should be saved for posterity!

    Kudos to you, Sir!

    Post data: by the way, you owe me a new hernia.

  31. Mephistro Silver badge
    Devil

    I'd like to propose a more efficient method.

    Instead of drones, that are expensive, complex and prone to self-destruction machines, Amazon should use artillery shells, with containers of various sizes. With this method yo could send anything from a fresh egg to a small car. The cost savings could be spectacular, allowing Amazon to "Create Value For Our Shareholders" (TM).

    And a great way of mailing brochures, as well!

    But I can imagine the naysayers: ... insurance costs... civil unrest... true mail-bombs... yadda yadda...

    Fucking Luddites! It's because of them we don't have flying cars!!!

  32. thx1138v2

    Coming soon: drone mail delivery. After all, mail is just small packages. The check's on the drone.

  33. Wolfclaw Silver badge

    Any drone that comes low enough over my property meets a baseball bat.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice Starship. I could steal that.

    They claim it's not worth stealing because half the time it's empty, and it has traceability functions. So here's how I'd steal it:

    1. Approach it in my modified white van (I dub it the 'Taffermobile.'). The Taffermobile has the guts of two microwave ovens strapped to the inside, pumping out two kilowatts of broad spectrum RF energy at about 2.4GHz. At that power level and close range, it doesn't matter the exact frequency.

    2. Verify that the Starship has ceased to move - you don't need it completely fried, just the radio systems so it can't transmit images.

    3. Quickly jump out, brave the Zone of Microwave Pain, nab the prize and stuff it in the back of the van.

    4. If you get valuable cargo from it, that's a bonus. If not, that thing contains at least a hundred quid worth of eBayable components.

    Scheme requirements:

    - Two people, one van, £100 worth of investment in the jammer.

    Risk: Near-zero, so long as you don't do something stupid like use a van with a tracable numberplate.

    Reward: Maybe £200 per Starship - if you make sure to get the ones heading *away* from the depo.

  35. RotorTalk

    Don't Larf

    Park bench? No problem. Nearly 4 months ago, DJI, the established multirotor drone manufacturer announced an RTK GPS/GNSS system which is accurate to +/- 5 cms in x,y or z. So provided you were sitting comfortably having accurately established the location of your picnic plate; a suitably equipped drone could plonk a Walkers pork pie on your plate.

  36. RotorTalk
    Go

    Park bench? No probs

    Park bench? No problem. Nearly 4 months ago, DJI, the established multirotor drone manufacturer announced an RTK GPS/GNSS system which is accurate to +/- 5 cms in x,y or z. So provided you were sitting comfortably having accurately established the location of your picnic plate; a suitably equipped drone could plonk a Walkers pork pie on it. Postcodes would never cut it for drone delivery... Neither will GNSS alone; there has to be autonomous feature recognition and proximity awareness.

  37. DrM
    Happy

    Love it

    :-) Love it.

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