Why You Won't Likely See Amazon Drones In The D.C. Area Any Time Soon | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Why You Won't Likely See Amazon Drones In The D.C. Area Any Time Soon

Are you within 10 miles of a fulfillment center?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos generated a lot of buzz on CBS' 60 Minutes Sunday night when he unveiled Amazon Prime Air — a new service currently in development that would use semi-autonomous drones to deliver packages to customers' doorsteps in 30 minutes or less.

But can it work in the D.C. area?

The plan, according to Bezos, is to guide a fleet of "octocopters" from Amazon fulfillment centers to customers' GPS coordinates.

These generations of vehicles, it could be a 10-mile radius from a fulfillment center. So, in urban areas, you could actually cover very significant portions of the population. And so, it won’t work for everything; you know, we’re not gonna deliver kayaks or table saws this way. These are electric motors, so this is all electric; it’s very green, it’s better than driving trucks around.

While the idea sounds revolutionary, the hitch for those in the D.C. area is that Amazon doesn't have any fulfillment centers within 10 miles.

In October, the retailer announced plans to build a 1 million square foot fulfillment center in Baltimore in 2014. That will join the two fulfillment centers in Virginia, in both Chesterfield and Dinwiddie Counties.

When you draw circles with a radius of 10 miles from those fulfillment centers, it covers most of Baltimore up through the Towson area, as well as much of the southern half of Richmond. Most of the D.C. Metro area is well outside those boundaries.

Perhaps that is just as well, because drones currently occupy a murky legal territory, but that may change. The FAA is slated to issue new rules governing unmanned aerial systems in 2015. Regardless, that may not matter. The use of drones, even those flown by hobbyists, are banned in D.C.'s restricted airspace.

So at least for the time being, residents of the District will have to settle for delivery the old-fashioned way.

NPR

Keeping Heirloom Apples Alive Is 'Like A Chain Letter' Over Many Centuries

Scott Farm in Vermont grows 100 apple varieties, some of them dating back to the 1700s. These apples may not look as pretty as the Red Delicious, but what they lack in looks they make up for in taste.
NPR

Keeping Heirloom Apples Alive Is 'Like A Chain Letter' Over Many Centuries

Scott Farm in Vermont grows 100 apple varieties, some of them dating back to the 1700s. These apples may not look as pretty as the Red Delicious, but what they lack in looks they make up for in taste.
NPR

To Foil Russia's Food Ban, Imported Ingredients Go Incognito

Russia's ban on imported foods hasn't stopped its trendiest restaurants from sourcing top-quality ingredients like Italian cheese and Norwegian fish. How? Just slap on a "made in Belarus" label.
NPR

Retailers' Customers Cautioned As Cyber Attacks Continue

Home Depot says some 56 million card holders were possibly compromised in a cyber attack. It says there's no evidence that debit PIN numbers were comprised or that the breach affected online shoppers.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.