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The little self-driving delivery robots are currently being tested in Snohomish, and even have the ability to dodge pets and joggers and probably other robots. (Image: Amazon)

Drones, Robots & Public Buses: Amazon seems bored with regular delivery

It feels like Amazon will do everything in their power to avoid humans actually delivering packages. They've really taken the “by land, by sea, by air” thing to new heights. If I asked you to quickly name five Amazon delivery methods before I filled up this water balloon and threw it at you, do you think you'd stay dry? Probably not.

Let's do a recap before they come up with another one. They're using pickup lockers, drones, new little six-wheeled robots, Amazon Key (which creepily lets delivery drivers access car trunks and front doors), and just secured a patent which would convert public buses into mobile delivery stations. Trebuchets and beaming are surely around the corner.

The little self-driving delivery robots are currently being tested in Snohomish, and even have the ability to dodge pets and joggers and probably other robots. What they can't do is deal with stairs, so customers will still have to come outside and grab the package after the robot's hatch opens. Why don't I just go to the mall?

If it moves, Amazon will try to use it to deliver a package. The new bus patent does not involve having each of the passengers hold a box and deliver them. Instead, Amazon would attach a removable delivery module to the bus, and customers could pick up their package at a nearby designated stop. It's like a fancy version of “Hey if you're going in that direction, do you mind doing me a favor?”

At the very least, this method would allow people to stand at a bus stop and annoyingly say, “Actually, I'm waiting for a package.”

Every new delivery service Amazon comes up with scares me a little. I worry about an Amazon drone accidentally crashing through my window after clicking “Place Order.” I worry about an Amazon driver using Key to open my trunk and discovering a dead body I forgot to take out. I worry about porch pirates skipping the middleman and just kidnapping the package-filled delivery robots. I worry, is what I'm saying.

And since I've missed more buses than I've caught, I know that I'll never actually receive a package if it requires me to responsibly show up to a bus stop on time. Now I'll never get those monster feet slippers I ordered!

Regular delivery is just too old-fashioned for Amazon, with its human beings and eye contact and labor costs. It seems like they'd rather flip through Phillip K. Dick novels to find any new way to deliver a package. So if they're listening (and they are, because Alexa is everywhere), I've got some new delivery methods they may want to consider.

  • Sentient Amazon packages that deliver themselves,
  • A giant system of air tubes
  • 3D printers that print out the item in your home (though someone would have to deliver the 3D printer, I guess)
  • They could use airdrops, dog walkers, underground conveyer belts
  • What about telekinesis?
  • What about zip lines? Everyone loves zip lines

Don't think Amazon will hesitate to go in any of these directions. A human being delivering package will become so rare that if a guy shows up to your front door with a box, you'll assume it's an undercover cop.

Soon Amazon packages will be crisscrossing directions all around you. They'll drop from the sky and tunnel up from the ground and towel themselves off as they emerge from the water. Then one fateful day it will happen: they'll take over humanity and enslave us.

And what do you think they'll make us do? Deliver packages, of course. We'll be right back to where we started.