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Expert: Amazon drone plan full of hot air

Expert: Amazon drone plan full of hot air

Santa Claus can breathe easy. Though Amazon.com wants to fill the air with package-delivering drones, it’ll be years, if ever, before the jolly ol’ elf has to worry about competing with a sky full of automated bogeys, experts in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles say.

Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos talked about his visions for a drone-filled future during a wide-ranging interview Sunday night on the CBS news show “60 Minutes.” The segment included video of a small unmanned aircraft, known as an octocopter, in testing as its picks up a small package, flies and drops off the load for delivery.

Bezos talked optimistically about being able to use drones to deliver packages weighing less than 5 pounds up to 10 miles within five years.

That’s a stretch, says Philip Finnegan, director of corporate analysis for the Teal Group Corp., a Virginia-based company.

“This is basically a publicity stunt,” says Finnegan, who specializes in forecasting the future of the unmanned aerial systems industry. “There are just huge obstacles to doing what Amazon says it is thinking about doing. Santa is safe.”

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