Jeff Bezos of Amazon is one very smart guy and when he announces that he is interested in drones delivering your next online order that makes for a lot of grandstanding.
But really how is a dumb drone delivering an order of diapers or a book so exciting.
Aside from putting a lot of delivery people at USPS, UPS, and FedEx out of work, what does the consumer get out of it?
Honestly, I don't care if if the delivery comes by Zike-Bike, Crunk-Car, Zumble-Zay, Bumble-Boat, or a Gazoom, as Dr. Seuss would say--I just care that it gets here fast, safely, and cheaply.
Will a drone be able to accomplish those things, likely--so great, send the drone over with my next order, but this doesn't represent the next big technological leap.
It doesn't give us what the real world of robotics in the future is offering: artificial intelligence, natural language processing, augmentation of humans, or substitution by robots altogether, to do things stronger, faster, and more precisely, and even perhaps companionship to people.
Turning surveillance and attack drones into delivery agents is perhaps a nice gesture to make a weapon into an everyday service provider.
And maybe the Octocopters even help get products to customers within that holy grail, one day timeframe, that all the retailers are scampering for.
It's certainly a great marketing tool--because it's got our attention and we're talking about it.
But I'll take a humanoid robot sporting a metallic smile that can actually interact with people, solve problems, and perform a multitude of useful everyday functions--whether a caregiver, a bodyguard, or even a virtual friend (e.g. Data from Star Trek)--over a moving thingamajig that Dr. Seuss foresaw for Marvin K. Mooney. ;-)