Drones-Package-Delivery-FutureYou place an order on Amazon.com and select the "prime air" delivery option and ask that it arrive at your home in the next two to four hours. Within that time span, a small Amazon drone quietly drops a package on your back porch and you have your delivery as promised. Delivery drones are a topic of conversation because Amazon insists that it will be using drones by next year. But is that really a good idea?

As material handling systems go, drones definitely qualify as unique and fun to talk about. But there is a practical side to running the largest Internet retailer in the world that may prevent drones from becoming a reality on the timetable that Amazon has projected. Still, the idea of drones making deliveries definitely has sparked some interesting conversations around the world.

Deliveries Would Be Faster

There is no doubt that Amazon would be able to deliver products faster if it had its own army of airborne drones scooting around the country. When an online retailer can offer a delivery method that is faster than overnight, then it has definitely raised the bar on customer service.

Emergency Deliveries Would Be Possible

Amazon sells medical supplies and other items that could be considered emergency items which would be able to arrive in hours instead of days. It could open up an entirely new sales department for Amazon which would deal strictly in emergency deliveries for specific types of customers.

Drones Would Become Targets

The average Amazon drone would become a target for people waiting in their backyards with their target rifles. There is also no guarantee that drones would be able to escape areas where crime is a significant problem.

Drone Product Carrying Capacity Is Limited

If consumers are expecting drones to be able to deliver 50-inch plasma televisions the same day they are ordered, then those consumers are in for a disappointment. Drones can only carry small and light items, which would limit just how effective the drones could be as advanced material handling systems.

Range Could Be A Problem

How far can an Amazon drone accurately and safely fly to deliver products? Right now, not even Amazon knows the answer to that question. Would Amazon have to build more distribution centers to be able to use its drones? Is that business model even feasible? These are all questions Amazon is currently wrestling with as it tries to bring its drones online.

Product Damage Is A Possibility

In its promotional video for the delivery drones, Amazon shows a drone gently setting a product on a customer's patio, releasing the product and flying away. If there is one thing companies and people have learned about technology, it is that things do not always work out the way they are supposed to. What if the drone drops the product and destroys it? What if the drone experiences a hard landing and damages itself and the product? What if the drone winds up dropping the product through the customer's window? Damage from drone deliveries is definitely a concern for Amazon.

The upside of using drones is that Amazon would no longer have to pay to use another delivery system such as FedEx or the Postal Service. But it may be some time before Amazon really works out all of the bugs and gets its drone army off the ground.

Drones can be used to deliver packages and collect data, a new method for finding warehouse solutions. Amazon can mount cameras on its drones and find out what your house looks like and determine what kinds of products you do not have that Amazon could advertise to you. Drones may sound like neat ideas, but it will take time before the public and Amazon is really ready for drone deliveries.