This is the story Amazon doesn’t want you to see: Delivery drones that want to chop your fingers off and slice open your face.
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Last night on 60 Minutes, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos previewed a drone-filled future, a world in which so-called quadrocopters zip around your leafy suburban neighborhood, dropping packages gingerly on your doorstep before flying back to Amazon’s happy drone headquarters to prepare for the next potentially deadly mission.
“I know this looks like science fiction,” Bezos told a shocked Charlie Rose. “It’s not. It drops the package. You come and get your package and we can do half-hour deliveries.”
Besides being nothing more than a publicity stunt, there’s another lingering problem Bezos didn’t really mention: Quadrocopters are notoriously dangerous, renowned for slicing up enthusiasts like soy-marinated chicken breasts at Benihana.
SF Express, the massive Chinese logistics company, is also reportedly testing out its own drone delivery service, while several other companies (including Domino’s Pizza) claim to be researching drone delivery. It’s all very futuristic. And, frankly, who wouldn’t love the idea of near-instant deliveries of Domino’s Pizza and sex dolls?
But ask even the laziest hobbyist drone pilot and you’ll understand why commercial drone use isn’t even close to being legal in the U.S., and won’t be until 2015. They aren’t toys—a commercial-grade drone could easily shear off a large hunk of your nose as you eagerly attempt to intercept your drone’s delivery of Malcolm in the Middle, season 3 Blu-ray.
Yes, yes—this is all a bit alarmist and premature. Amazon admits its drones won’t hit the skies until at least 2018. But the injuries are real, even if you don’t often hear about them. Just have a look in the gallery above: In a post titled “Quadcopters: Be Safe!!” amateur drone enthusiasts on an RC forum posted pictures of their accidents. There’s about 185 posts in total and many of the images are pretty damn graphic. (Seriously: The few pictures we selected are violent; proceed with caution.)
We all want our Amazon products immediately. We should just be careful what we wish for.