Drones tested to deliver supplies to refugee camps in Haiti

That the future is upon us is evident amidst Amazon's, the American giant that gave the world the Kindle and all but started online buying, declaration that they are working on technology that will help them deliver packages by way of drones. They say the advent, while sci-fi sounding now, will, in the future, be as common as today's common mode of delivery--delivery trucks. While Amazon's hopes are high, the unlikeliness of the venture is being discussed by others who say the announcement is just for 15 minutes of press.


Despite the naysayers, a 2012 test facilitated by a California startup company, Matternet, showed the feasibility of the venture. They used a drone, outfitted with eight propellers, to deliver a 2 kilogram package over 10 kilometers. The test was to show if this method of delivery could be used to supply packages to Haitian refugee camps. The finding was that the cost was only $0.20 to $0.70, a savings of at least five times what it would cost to deliver the goods traditionally.

But, while the venture is technically sound, as described by an MIT professor of aeronautics, R. John Hansman, the cost for this kind of delivery would be at a premium. He estimates that packages would have to cost about $100 or $200 per five-pounds to prove feasible. Other variables include the safety of home deliveries, calculated navigation to precise delivery points and third-world obstacles like power lines and theft. Amazon remains confident that the technology can be mastered and then successfully deployed.

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Read more: Transportation, Cargo, refugee, Shipping, Drone, Technology

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