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Dawn of the Drones

By Paul Viau | Mar 20, 2014
Photo by: Paul Viau EYE IN THE SKY — Drones are all around us, even at the golf course. So watch your lob shots.

This week my column may drone-on more than usual. Sorry ‘bout that, but I want to examine the growing trend of drones in the marketplace.

I’m not so much concerned about the drones taking out the bad guys, like al-Qaeda terrorists, or even those NSA drones keeping an eye out on the rest of us.

I’ve got nothing to hide, or I wouldn’t wear my life on my newsprint sleeve every week.

What does concern me is the thought/nightmare of hundreds of drones teaming overhead — delivering everything from Amazon.com packages to Pappa John’s pizza.

It’s bound to be a hornet’s nest of a problem.

I’m sure they can work out the technology to keep all these drones from running into one another. After all, they’re already doing that with cars.

As a matter of fact, I think that’s why Ford named one of their models the Escape.

But let’s take a close look at some of the companies looking to use drones.

It has been widely publicized that Amazon is actively considering using drones to deliver packages “in select markets.” It’s a spinoff of the popular preferred member shipping service, Amazon Prime — with the working name of Amazon Prime Air. But could this service become Amazon Prime-Evil?

Consider Amazon’s amazing success, and how the company has changed the way we all shop, read and compute.

With more that 225 million customers worldwide, and a goal to sell “everything to everyone,” the aptly named Amazon is a force to be reckoned with.

Any company that can find a way to put 15 miles of conveyor belt inside a single building can find a way to fit millions of drones in the open air – the sky is the limit.

A few years ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to tour the above-mentioned building at an undisclosed location in Kentucky. Our tour guide was our son, who is an area manager for Amazon.

Not too many people get behind the scenes at Amazon, and we were amazed at the precision of the operation. This was a few years ago, and people were doing all order fulfillment. These days, Amazon is also using robots.

Will the robots be controlling the drones? Where will this all end?

I guess I am not the only one concerned about drones, because the ever-progressive South Carolina House has unanimously passed legislation to ban drones.

Yesterday, I heard even more alarming news about drones — It was reported that Facebook is considering the purchase of Titan Aerospace, a manufacturer of solar-powered drones. Titan is developing a U.A.V. (unmanned aerial vehicle) that can stay aloft for years. Whatever will Facebook do with this kind of technology?

Who knows?

In the future you may be able to ‘post’ to the galaxy or un-friend someone in new and uplifting ways. Once again, they sky is the limit.

Personally, I think drones will do more good. I have seen beautiful drone photography of our recent snowstorms on WLOS-TV, and last fall I witnessed a drone (pictured) flying over the golf course, capturing video footage for Maggie Valley Club.

It was fun to watch, and didn’t interfere with anyone’s golf game. Now, if only they could get a drone to deliver food to the starter stand.