Amazon attracted a lot of attention this weekend when, on “60 Minutes,” CEO Jeff Bezos announced a futuristic vision for the company: using drones to make deliveries within 30 minutes to homes in metropolitan areas.
The biggest import of the story is just the fact that Amazon has decided that it’s interested in this technology. That will have a couple of effects. First, it makes drones all the more real for people. The company’s video illustrating how the system is envisioned as working—viewed by millions on “60 Minutes”—should not be underestimated in its cultural effects. There’s nothing like putting a concrete vision out there to make something happen. There’s also nothing like having a powerful, household-name company get behind a political cause to make it happen. All manner of aerospace companies have been pushing for the integration of drones into the national airspace, but now a company that many Americans have a direct relationship with is involved. And (as my colleague Chris Calabrese points out), daily adoption of the technology by a company like Amazon would also likely smooth the way for drone deployments overall just by making it cheaper and more ubiquitous.