Will delivery drones ever be viable? Or safe?

Drones have been promoted as a means of making deliveries. I remain very sceptical about whether this is a good thing or not. Even if it can be developed into a reliable means of transport how much drone traffic do we want zinging all over town?

Amazon have been a prominent proponent. CNN (2017): Amazon patent reveals drone delivery ‘beehives’

In 2013, Amazon unveiled plans for a new delivery service called Prime Air, which would use drones to deliver packages.

Amazon made its first drone delivery in the U.K. in December 2016. The company plans to expand the service to dozens of customers near its British facility in the near future.

Amazon has filed for a patent for beehive-like towers that would serve as multi-level fulfillment centers for its delivery drones to take off and land. The facilities would be built vertically to blend in with high rises in urban areas. Amazon envisions each city would have one.

amazon drone beehives 2

Each city would have an Amazon drone tower? And how many others. A Dominos drone tower?

Stuff (2016): Dominos delivers pizza by drone

History has been made today in Whangaparaoa just north of Auckland. As of this morning, drone deliveries of pizza are now reality as the first commercial deliveryof food by drone to a customer was successful. The first ever flying order delivered at 11:19am today was put together by Domino’s Pizza and Flirtey.

I don’t know how this project is progressing. Or the Amazon drone delivery project.

What about delivering the mail? Remember mail that came to our letterboxes?

This was just one embarrassing failure.

What about the potential dangers? Will we have to start wearing helmets in public in case an errant drone drops on us? Or a book or a pizza?

I live on a flight path for seagulls – they are frequently passing overhead heading up or down Otago Harbour. Seagulls can be a pest in some parts of town, but they are a majestic part of bird life here, I love watching them soar past. It would be funny if they learnt to attack pizza drones to score a free feed.

But the silent soaring of birds is different to the buzz of drones doing suburban deliveries.

We may have something that will make drones unviable here – the Resource Management Act.  If anyone tries to get them off the ground in any serious way.

Leave a comment


  1. kluelis

     /  2nd January 2019

    “Kerblam” DR Who episode 7 in the present series saw a company send gifts all over the galaxy so with online sales on the rise let the drones begin 🙂
    Delivery by Tiger moth or DC 3 would be a quaint touch.
    Or balloon or airship bring back the Zepps, Robert Plant and all.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  2nd January 2019

    What might work better is designated delivery and pickup points with approved flight paths to them. Can envisage automated pickups protected by a pin code.

  3. Treuddyn Ted

     /  2nd January 2019

    I spotted a drone hovering above my house a while back. I’d just built a legal shed and it occurred to me I was being spied on. My first instinct was to shoot it down. I later learned it’s illegal to shoot drones down. But using a drone to spy on people is legal?

    • NOEL

       /  2nd January 2019

      Ted the rules require the drone user to obtain permission. If they did not the legal avenues are the CAA and the Privacy Commissioner and where life is threatened the Police.
      I’d go with the shot gun and make a plea to the Judge for clemency followed by a “Give a little page” if the Judge is a dick..

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  2nd January 2019

        Who’d know whodunnit ? Shoot the bugger down and chance it.

        Or give the owner something to look at. Someone I know moved into a new house which had a nosy neighbour who peered out at them all the time; they couldn’t even go to the letterbox without her staring through the curtains. One day the husband had had enough and did a full Monty down-trow. No more Peeping Thomasina.

  4. NOEL

     /  2nd January 2019

    I would guess the “each case on its merit” would not favour the the irresponsible drone user.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  2nd January 2019

      As ‘private’ drones are so restricted, I hope that the novelty wears off, as (in theory) they are like remote controlled toy planes and are not supposed to go out of sight. I would find them totally boring after about 3 minutes. (seconds)

      It will be interesting to see if they are a one-term wonder, so to speak.

      If there is a crash, it may be the end of them for private use.


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