Google and Amazon in robot aircraft race.

Drones to deliver goods straight to your door. Image by Pixabay (creative commons).

Imagine getting your online orders delivered within minutes; dropped at your door via personal aircraft. Well tech giant Google and retail super-power Amazon are engaged in a race to be the first to introduce a drone delivery service to their online shopping experience.

The robot aircraft are becoming common place, used everywhere from surveillance to personal film-making, and now drones could be replacing the postman as early as next year. Both Amazon’s Project Prime Air and Google’s Project Wing are set to premier their services in Britain in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

While drone specifications remain unknown, the aircraft will be able to hover and winch packages to ground level for delivery. Technology sceptics suggest some obstacles still stand in the way however, as the lithium-ion batteries may not provide enough power to transport heavy packages over long distances. According to David Vanderhoof of UAV digest; a weekly podcast for all things related to Unmanned Aerial Vehicle systems, “If you have a 30 minute lifespan, you’re only going to get about 20 minutes of flying”.

Another big challenge is the safety of the skies. There have been previous reports about drones flying dangerously close to commercial aircraft. With this in mind, Amazon have proposed the idea of a designated airspace to counter the issue. That said, drones are banned from flying too close to airports which could be troublesome for shoppers in Bristol, with the airport close by.

We’ll have to patiently wait to see how successful drone delivery could be, but imagine this…Domino’s Pizza to UWE via drone in 2018, anyone?