A clip from the online shopping giant Amazon took to the skies recently. The footage showed a massive blimp with the Amazon logo, and as it flew around, smaller drones came out of it like a space invasion. The blimp acted as the mothership of a science fiction movie, with the drones acting as its soldiers.
Amazon Drone Mothership
The footage circulated around the internet to general awe by the public. While sites like Snopes.com quickly debunked this drone-mothership video as ‘fake’, how far are we from seeing the real thing?
Yes, unfortunately the clip circulating online is a computer-generated work. It was quite convincing, but at the end of the day, no such thing is even close to existing in real life. Although how far are we from this fictional world scenario?
The Rise of Drone Use
Drone use over the past few years skyrocketed among the common population. They are now affordable, and are easy enough to learn for those interested. Use of drones also branched out more into serious jobs of society. No longer are they simple flying cameras for photography, these drones also dabble in crime prevention, search and rescue, and even agriculture. Drone deliveries also started becoming more popular over recent years.
Amazon for instance promised back in 2013 that they would be fully utilizing drones in five years’ time. While that is still not a reality, they are closing in on their targeted goal. Amazon started giving the option for delivery via drone to selected areas, while also planning to spread out in the next few years.
A Vision of Things to Come
That is where the clip of the blimp comes in. Sometime in the near future, drones would takeoff in a similar manner. Rather than staying in a stationary launch point, it would be more practical to have a flying home for these drones. This eliminates some of the limitations currently plaguing delivery drones – their reach. Yes, with a limited battery supply, a drone only has a certain range it can fly before requiring to recharge. This limits the delivery distance quite a bit, as it would require at least a straight flight roundtrip.
An aircraft, in this case a blimp, can travel around and rely on other forms of fuel. This provides a moving platform for drones to launch from, giving them near-unlimited range.
Reactions to the Amazon Blimp
While some saw the computer-generated clip as a potential future, others saw it as a possible nightmarish scene. Indeed, the way the drones come out of the drone is very reminisce to alien invasion movies, as well as robot horror stories. If it does indeed come true, would it be utilized solely for delivery? What would it mean for the more traditional delivery methods like trucks, motorcycles, and human couriers?
Before the clip was revealed a fake, it received great responses online. People were excited, to say the least, although some like mentioned above were fearful. Still, it was a great piece of futuristic imagery, one so believable because it is a lot closer to reality than one might think.
Of course, drones used as surveillance are both a common fear and inevitability. With drones having cameras built in them, it can provide great coverage while on the air. This is a common issue brought up in neighborhoods where drone testing take place. The fear of being watched will always be there – and a swarm of drones coming from a mothership may make the fear more intense. Would the future of drones look like this? Something out of a science fiction movie? We will have to see to find out.