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Disruptions: At Your Door In Minutes, Delivered By Robot

Publication Date: 
December 08, 2013
The New York Times - Bits
Nick Bilton

Bryant Walker Smith, fellow at Stanford Law's Center for Internet and Society, comments on the possibility of "delivery drones" in the wake of Amazon's proposal for delivery packages by drone for The New York Times Bits. 

Like it or not, e-commerce is changing the way the world shops. It is also changing expectations. Two-day delivery was great then, but this is now.

Raise your hand if you get this whole Amazon drone thing.

By now the next bright idea from Jeff Bezos — that tiny drones will one day be whizzing overhead and dropping Amazon packages at America’s doorsteps — has gone through a few turns of the spin cycle. For many, it sounds like a sci-fi fantasy wrapped in public relations hype, or a total nightmare. Maybe both.


”As cities become more automated, you’re going to start to see on-demand delivery systems that look like small delivery vehicles and can bring you whatever you want to wherever you are,” said Bryant Walker Smith, a fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School and a member of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford. “Rather than go to the store to buy some milk, a robot or drone will go to a warehouse and get it for you, then deliver it.”

Mr. Smith said these delivery vehicles would come in all shapes and sizes. Some might be able to scurry down alleyways and avoid traffic. Others could be refrigerated to store food.