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    New trials for delivering goods by drones

    This is a discussion on New trials for delivering goods by drones within the Everyday Life forums, part of the Community channel category; New trials for delivering goods by drones - BBC News The government's getting together with the retail giant Amazon to ...

    1. #1
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      New trials for delivering goods by drones

      New trials for delivering goods by drones - BBC News
      The government's getting together with the retail giant Amazon to start testing flying drones that can deliver parcels to your door.

      Amazon's paying for the programme, which will look at the best way to allow hundreds of robotic aircraft to buzz around Britain's skies safely.

      The company claims it'll eventually mean small parcels will arrive at your house within 30 minutes of ordering them online.

      Ministers say they want to pave the way for all businesses to start using the technology in future, but they will still have to convince the public that having automated drones flying around is both safe and won't invade people's privacy.

      Three big problems


      The trials will look at cracking three big problems:

      • How can you operate drones safely beyond "line of sight"? The current rules say a pilot has to be able to see the aircraft at all times
      • How can you build a drone that won't bump into things? Much like autonomous cars it would need sensors to help it avoid objects
      • How can you build a system where one pilot is responsible for many drones?


      The government says the work will help it draw up new rules and regulations for the future, so that all companies can take advantage of drone technology, which it claims could eventually be worth billions.

      Amazon says it is conducting the trials in Britain, because the regulations are more flexible than in other countries.

      How will they work?


      A number of systems are being tried, but the current favourite seems to be a machine that's part airplane and part helicopter.

      It can fly at 50mph (80km/h) for 10 miles (16km) or more away from base, at a height of around 350ft (100m).

      When it reaches the delivery address, it comes down vertically onto a special landing mat that the buyer will place on their property. So you could have parcels popped into your back garden for security.

      The company also claims it's working on ways to make the machines quieter and it says they won't have cameras on, just sensors.

      That privacy question is something that came up a lot when I chatted to people on Maidstone High Street the other day.

      Maybe the Amazon drones won't be filming, but people are worried other drones would.

      Sheffield University professor Noel Sharkey - a robotics expert who co-founded the Foundation for Responsible Robotics and is currently a judge on the BBC's Robot Wars programme - voices concern about the growth of drones.

      "All information is stealable and all drones hackable", he tells me. "Anybody could steal one to deliver drugs or bombs.

      "The Taliban have been hacking into military drones for years, stealing video feeds, using a bit of software they got from Sweden. Hezbollah did it for years with Israeli military drones.

      "In 2012 the US Army warned people that it couldn't help making accidental recordings while flying over houses; so filming people in their back gardens, for example."

      The future


      Prof Sharkey also says he worries that the aviation authorities are interested in safety, but not privacy. He describes a sudden increase in flying drones as a "nightmare scenario".

      "We need a broader societal discussion; not just the government and Amazon getting into a huddle for the sake of the economy."

      It's impossible to say how many parcels we're talking about as Amazon doesn't give figures. But it would be anything weighing less than 2.2kg (5lbs) and that is 80-90% of the things they sell.

      Ministers say they want to create an environment where drones can be operated safely, beyond the line of sight, by 2020.

      It may be Amazon today, but the question is: Who'll want to use drones in future?


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      Re: New trials for delivering goods by drones

      Was watching this on some tech progs from the US recently.
      There are gangs following the drones and then going to the drop off points and pinching the goods.
      Was some talk of pharmacy and grocery trials and they were prime targets of the drones.
      Lot of environment issues re plastic too, as the goods have to remain watertight.

      Some of the old scifi writers will all be turning in their graves, have read about so many of these things in the scifi classics over the years, hilarious.

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      Re: New trials for delivering goods by drones

      The only way such deliveries could ever be secure would be if the owner was home.

      Ok there is the advantage that Amazon are looking to despatch within 30 minutes of the order, but the kind of assumes that the delivery point is relatively close to the warehouse too, otherwise the drone just can't be secure enough to make the whole trip, deliver the goods and return to base.

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      Re: New trials for delivering goods by drones

      Quote Originally Posted by lettice View Post
      Some of the old scifi writers will all be turning in their graves, have read about so many of these things in the scifi classics over the years, hilarious.
      Surely teleportation of the goods directly in the customers hallway is the way forward.
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      Re: New trials for delivering goods by drones

      Quote Originally Posted by reddwarfcrew View Post
      Surely teleportation of the goods directly in the customers hallway is the way forward.
      I take the Hitchikers's guide and physicist Lawrence M. Krauss views on that

      I teleported home last night with Ron and Sid and Meg
      Ron stole Meggy's heart away and I got Sidney's leg.

      Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
      The Star Trek writers seem never to have got it exactly clear what they want the transporter to do. Does the transporter send the atoms and the bits, or just the bits...
      According to the canon definition of the transporter the former seems to be the case, but that that definition is inconsistent with a number of applications, particularly incidents, involving the transporter, which appear to involve only a transport of information, for example the way in which it splits Kirk into two version in the episode "The Enemy Within" or the way in which Riker is similarly split in the episode "Second Chances".
      In order to "dematerialize" something in order to achieve matter teleportation, the binding energy of the atoms and probably that of all its nuclei would have to be overcome. He notes that the binding energy of electrons around nuclei is minuscule relative to binding energy that hold nuclei together. He notes that "if we were to heat up the nuclei to about 1000 billion degrees (about a million times hotter than the temperature at the core of the Sun), then not only would the quarks inside lose their binding energies but at around this temperature matter will suddenly lose almost all of its mass. Matter will turn into radiation—or, in the language of our transporter, matter will dematerialize...
      In energy units, this implies providing about 10 percent of the rest mass of protons and neutrons in the form of heat. To heat up a sample the size of a human being to this level would require therefore, about 10 percent of the energy needed to annihilate the material—or the energy equivalent of a hundred 1-megaton hydrogen bombs."

      Lawrence M. Krauss, The Physics of Star Trek

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      Re: New trials for delivering goods by drones

      Cat Food deliveries by drone could be useful. My cats are quite evil when they're hungry!
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      Please note the views and recommendations in my posts are my own and in no way reflect the views of Sky

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      Re: New trials for delivering goods by drones

      Now I'm sure that the RSPCA would not like this approach, but perhaps if people were to arrange for their pet food to be delivered by done whilst they are holiday, it could resolve all those issues about kennels and catteries.

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      Re: New trials for delivering goods by drones

      Would like a robot, that could open the pouch, call the cats in from outside, feed them not only wet and dry food, but topup the water and give it a few friendly strokes and cuddles.
      Could watch it all remotely. Well, maybe one day.

      Instead we have self cleaning litter trays and cumbersome feeders.
      Saw this one recently, trouble my cats would have knocked it over and binged.


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      Re: New trials for delivering goods by drones

      Interesting ideas on the delivery mechanism


     

     

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