At the end of 2013, Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, gave an interview to CBS’ 60 Minutes program, where he revealed his idea about an autonomous drone that would deliver your packages to customer’s doorstep onvce the customer presses ‘buy’. The idea made most people think if Bezos’s mind is still working on all rotors.
It’s been noted that as soon as we could cram enough transistors onto a CPU to give it the same brainpower as an insect, we got drones. In the latest feat of biomimicry, these drones not only stabilise themselves, they operate autonomously, using GPS and dead reckoning to fly between locations. No human pilots – so no human lives at risk.
A drone that can carry 150 Kg of passenger can carry a lot of produce – produce that can go from farmer to market in a matter of hours, with the right drone. Suddenly, the map of Papua New Guinea looks a lot more connected – through the air.
These cargo drones won’t be fancy, and they won’t be particularly safe. Because they’re not carrying passengers (except in emergencies, when they could be a real life-saver) they don’t need to be. They’re workhorses, designed to move cargo from the Highlands to the cities cheaply and efficiently.
We’re accelerating into a ‘cargo culture’ where that same story will repeat itself again and again, becoming broadly true for everyone living at the extremes of distance or accessibility. Autonomous drones will transform the 21st century almost as comprehensively as automobiles did in the last.