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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

December 9, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Reader responses to Amazon drones in Seattle-area skies

Last week, Amazon.com Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos unveiled on “60 Minutes” his company’s future plans to deploy a drone delivery service. (Calm down, numerous media outlets such as CBS News report it won’t happen for a while. Maybe never.)

In this handout provided by Amazon.com, a remote aerial vehicle being called Prime Air that online retailer Amazon hopes to develop to deliver goods to customers takes flight. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos hopes to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using the unmanned vehicles but says it could take years to advance the technology and get FAA approval. (Photo by Amazon via Getty Images)

In this handout provided by Amazon.com, a remote aerial vehicle being called Prime Air that online retailer Amazon hopes to develop to deliver goods to customers takes flight. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos hopes to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using the unmanned vehicles but says it could take years to advance the technology and get FAA approval. (Photo by Amazon via Getty Images)

The announcement drew mass attention and criticism, both good and bad. To get a sense of how Americans feel about the skies possibly filling with unmanned drones someday, The Huffington Post and public opinion site YouGov surveyed 1,000 adults between Dec. 2 and 3. As reported on Friday, the joint poll found “Americans are largely undecided about whether an Amazon drone delivery program is a good idea or a bad one, with 23 percent saying it’s a good idea, 36 percent saying it’s a bad idea, and another 41 percent saying they’re not sure.”

In this Dec. 2 Opinion Northwest blog post, I asked readers to share how they would use the service if the Federal Aviation Administration ever wrote the rules allowing Amazon Prime Air to take off.

People offered some quirky, thoughtful responses:

I would not use it because of the chance that some kid with a pellet gun or slingshot would have a wonderful time shooting one out of the sky, not just for fun but also to also steal what I ordered.

I am also a pilot. From the ground up to 3000 feet, it is uncontrolled airspace. It is every man for himself. I do not want to be low on final approach and have to deal with a drone passing in front of me.

In theory it all sounds great, but it is just not practical. It also would mean fewer available jobs.

— Carl Levi, Auburn

I’d love an online pharmacy that had the ability to deliver my prescriptions 24/7. By the way,  the hysteria against small-aircraft delivery reminds me of the initial reactions to cash machines. A small RFID (radio-frequency identification) on my roof should allow for the 21st century equivalent of the milk delivery box at every house. Very doable.

— John Karp, Bothell

I’d use the service to deliver ingredients I forgot during my late night holiday cooking marathons.

— Matt Ahl, Seattle

Latte, bring me my latte!

— Margaret Metz-Holland, Seattle

To install and maintain a drone pad and monitoring system so the damned things wouldn’t keep landing on my front porch to leave unannounced and unprotected packages.

— Thomas Rekdal, Seattle

Comments | Topics: Amazon, drones, shopping


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