back to article Special delivery: Pizza, parcel-slinging drones inch closer to reality

America's aviation watchdog, the FAA, has put forward a plan for how delivery drones will be governed. The federal regulator's rule-making committee on Tuesday issued a report [PDF] that is a key milestone in the adoption of delivery drones in the Land of the Free. The UAS Identification and Tracking Aviation Rulemaking …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see nothing

    about compulsory public liability insurance.

    Still, what damage can be done by something weighing only a couple of kilos falling from 2,500ft (whatever that is in Modern).

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Back in America, the committee's report this week is just a set of recommendations – they have yet to be formally signed off by the regulator

    Guess not enough money has changed hands behind the scenes yet...

  3. Milton Silver badge

    ... what damage can be done ...

    "The craft operated and under 400 feet, and was limited to carrying parcels that weighed less than five pounds."

    The terminal velocity of a dense object falling from 400 feet could be over 90 mph. At 2kg it will have about the same kinetic energy as 7.62mm rifle bullet (old soldiers will know how much damage an SLR round could do).

    Thus we must hope that parcels will be equipped with parachutes or wrapped in fluffy shock-absorbent layers.

    Because otherwise, the choice of every child in the playground is simple: be killed outright if it hits your skull corner-on, or get lucky if it strikes flat-side-on—merely breaking your neck for a lifetime of quadriplegia.

    1. Nonymous Crowd Nerd

      Re: ... what damage can be done ...

      Clearly these examples you've given are worst case scenarios and would be very unlikely - perhaps around one in a thousand drones dropped on a playground would do that much damage, especially since the average package would be well below the maximum weight. On many occasions, it's also so dark, cold or rainy that even British children might not be in the playground. There have not been many injuries reported from recreational done accidents. That said, it would still be worth routing the drones away from places like playgrounds and, yes, insurance is essential.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: ... what damage can be done ...

        Worst case scenario is that a drone falls from the sky and smacks into the windshield of a school bus scaring the life out of the driver who jerks the wheel taking the bus into oncoming traffic leaving several dead and a bus load of injured children all so some schmuck can have her iPhone within an hour of ordering.

    2. handleoclast

      Re: ... what damage can be done ...


      You can buy bismuth ingots on Amazon. Only 86% of the density of lead, but it's nowhere near as soft. I wouldn't want 2kg of that dropped on my head.

      Why would anyone even think of buying bismuth? Well, if you know what you're doing, you can grow some very funky crystals. Try a google image search on bismuth crystals.

  4. RockBurner

    I'd imagine each drone would be parachute equipped to minimise damage anyway (for cost reasons if nothing else).

    I'm waiting for someone to produce a 'Skyhook' Drone-stealing-drone, it'll happen. (I estimate within 3 months of this service going live)

    1. Shady

      I'm waiting for the "Sky Crook" drone. It follows the Amazon drone around, and after the Amazon drone has dropped off a parcel, the Sky Crook moves in and scoops it up before the recipient has collected it from their lawn.

      The Amazon drone records video providing proof of delivery, the hapless recipient is left out of pocket and considering forking out for CCTV cameras after claiming the delivery wasn't made.

      1. handleoclast

        Re: Sky Crook

        The Amazon drone records video providing proof of delivery, the hapless recipient is left out of pocket and considering forking out for CCTV cameras after claiming the delivery wasn't made.

        I foresee a slight problem here...

        Dear Amazon, the CCTV cameras I ordered from you have not yet been delivered.

        Oh yes they have.

        Oh no they haven't.

        Behind you! It's Crook Drone!

        Where? I can't see Crook Drone.


  5. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    Will still be charged delivery fees and tips

    Pizza delivery by drone and I still expect to find a $2.25 delivery fee, likely to be increased, and to be charged a tip.

    Anyone with a Microsoft Action Pack Subscription remember when Microsoft switched away from shipping CDs and marketing materials to download-only? Remember how we were told that would save money? Remember when within a couple of years prices for the MAPS increased? Remember when not too longer after they Microsoft eliminated discounted renewals?

  6. EastFinchleyite

    Matter of taste

    This is all very well but I don't like pizza. Can I have the spaghetti carbonara instead?

    Another thought. If the drone dropped the pizza, wouldn't it becomes a frizbee and land anywhere but that which was intended.?

  7. MachDiamond Silver badge

    It's raining electronic parts

    I can't wait until drone delivery gets going. I'll install a net gun on mine with copper netting to block RF signals and knock a few down. They should be rather well built drones with a large battery pack and top end motors. As long as they can be prevented from yelling for help, they'll be worth a fair bob in just parts. The payload should be worth some coin too. I don't think people will be spending the extra money on drone delivery just for a pack of bog rolls. It's going to be for more expensive electronics and luxury items.

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