Credit Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for bringing drones into the public consciousness with his December 13, 2013, 60 Minutes interview. In what many skeptics viewed as a masterful piece of marketing, he predicted that in the next 5 years, drones would further revolutionize the online retail industry. Suddenly, drones were on the national radar screen, even though only a few test models were actually flying.

Since then, we’ve seen a flurry of activity among logistics organizations, drone manufacturers, and postal operators in countries such as Switzerland, Singapore, and Australia, all exploring how to use drones for delivery.

But where do everyday people stand on drone delivery? Do they like the idea of packages delivered to their doorstep by a flying robot, or does the idea unsettle them? And what if the U.S. Postal Service were to deliver packages using drones?

Tracking the public’s ever-changing perception of this new mode of delivery could be essential to shaping the Postal Service’s strategy. While drone technology is maturing and the regulatory framework still emerging, a proactive examination of drone delivery should help the Postal Service better assess the operational feasibility, fundamental economics, regulatory compliance, and social implications.

To that end, we administered a national survey to assess the public’s view of drones: their overall appeal; their most- and least-interesting applications; the believability of claims about benefits; potential concerns; and the perception if drone delivery were offered by five prominent players in the logistics and technology fields.

Some interesting findings emerged from the survey results:

  • The American public anticipates that drone delivery will be offered within the next 5 to 10 years.
  • More Americans like the concept of drone delivery than dislike it, but a large number have yet to decide.
  • Malfunction is the public’s primary concern about drone delivery — far more than fears about intentional misuse.
  • Exposure to information about drone delivery correlates with greater interest in the idea.

When – if ever – do you think drone delivery might be offered? What do you think of the idea of drone delivery? What benefits would you anticipate? What concerns do you have?

Comments (12)

The most direct way to report fraud, waste, misconduct within the Postal Service is via our Hotline form

Leave a comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
  • anon

    Who is paying for the testing, repair, lost packages, manufacturing of the drone? Since the USPS is broke it leaves only one answer, taxpayers! I am always open to making improvements and moving forward, but with all the worldwide problems this idea is laughable. How will this affect the jobs of postal workers? I have been and continue to be satisfied with the delivery of my mail. What is new about complaints of inadequate service from postal workers or any other person who serves the public? Complain to their superior.

    Mar 21, 2017
  • anon

    Drones might be a lot better than what we have in our USPS system now. Fortunately, it was way better than this some years ago. When mail/packages were moisrouted or undelivered, the post office really took the time and care to resolve the issue and get your mail/package delivered and the carriers were aplolgetic, whether or not it was their fault. FYI: NEVER send anything through USPS if it has to go through the Bell Gardens, CA aka #theBlackHole, aka #theBermudaTriangle, sorting facility. I have my very first grandchild coming in Feb 2016 and mailed a package for the baby to my son and daughter-in-law in Santa Ana, CA on 11/14/16. As of today, 12,9.16, the box has been back and forth from Denver, CO sorting facility to Ananheim, CA and Bell Gardens, CA sorting facilities. I filed a case with tmy local PO here in Colorado Springs and over the phone and all they can do is TRY to get the pacakge delivered or pulled so one of us can pick it up at which ever end it gets pulled. This is so very sad. My granddaughter witll be birthing hoer own child by the time she gets it.

    Dec 09, 2016
  • anon

    There are several ways to look at this type of delivery; and the survey mentioned at least 2 of them, the "misuse of drone delivery" for one, and then the "malfunction" - as with any technology, or machinery, there is always the malfunction end of it, and your package could get either delivered to the wrong address or you'll never receive it as a malfunction could drop it anywhere, anytime for someone else to pick it up and there goes your purchase. The bugs have to be fixed first and a sense of trust to the public in accepting this type of "drone" usage. I would wait considerably before I would accept it in my neighborhood, at least. We have another neighborhood next to ours, cut off by a fence, who've we've seen use a drone with a camera device and repeatedly shown our disapproval of when they fly that thing over our side of the fence. So, one thing could arise from these deliveries is that other drones used like that could pick up these delivery drones and get in the way of them, cutting off their routes and there goes your packages again. And then there are the "hackers"! If a hacker can hack into a computer or laptop anywhere, they can certainly hack into a drone's computerized technology without as much as a trace. That's the one concern of mine, and a drone delivering my package from Amazon can get hacked and there goes another instance of global wide infiltrating using hackers. I don't think we're ready for that yet. Keep my packages delivered by our postman to keep them working and having jobs. This is when robots (i.e., drones) will take over the American people's jobs as this technology gets more and more technology-constricted. Plus, think of this: the only type packages that these drones can deliver are likely to be under 2 lbs as weight will be a factor of delivery, so when ordering, think of the weight of your package on how it will be delivered. The only way they could counter this is making bigger drones that can sustain larger capacity package weights and sizes. More expense to the consumer because you'd be paying extra for the weight & size and delivery method. I'll bet the delivery charges would be more expensive than regular methods by postal services.

    Oct 24, 2016
  • anon

    Would it be more reliable for baby delivery than storks?

    Oct 23, 2016
  • anon

    The USPS should be working on drones to deliver mail to places like Alaska or the bottom of the Grand Canyon. If it's not, it's way behind the curve. UPS is working on it now.

    Oct 23, 2016
  • anon

    Delivery by drone in Alaska might be ok in the summer but I don't think the batteries would last very long in sub zero temperatures. As for the Grand Canyon there is a remote town named Supai that still gets mail delivery by a mule. The guy that delivers the mail also delivers supplies to the town

    Nov 03, 2016
  • anon

    I need one drone please, to delivery my Grandma her Birthday Cake! Sincerely, Jonathan Edward Laurin

    Oct 20, 2016
  • anon

    I'd be happy if the USPS would deliver my packages...irrespective of how it does it. UPS and FedEx don't seem to have a problem.

    Oct 19, 2016
  • anon

    I never received my *$120 item, yet it said delivered. I think the post office should be held accountable! The carrier either stole my item or delivered it to someone else!! Because they marked it delivered, I have no recourse! and supposedly the gps tracking on the package wouldn't signal. Opened a case to no avail, they marked it resolved. RIGHT. No WONDER THE POSTAL SERVICE IS GOING BANKRUPT! I am sure the standard practice is to mark everything delivered. Drones are looking pretty good to me right now. Where is the accountability?? One week later I am delivered another package opened. Did the carrier stop and talk to me about that? NO!

    Oct 18, 2016
  • anon

    I think drone delivery is a great idea. Maybe I can have my mail delivered before 8:00 pm. In my neighborhood I live on a street where all my neighbors receive their mail in midday, I receive my mail after dark. Why doesn't the USPS hire more carriers to deliver mail at a reasonable time of day?

    Oct 17, 2016
  • anon

    Let me guess, the USPS is skeptical of drone delivery? Shocking.

    Oct 17, 2016
  • anon

    I have been looking forward to the "Utopian Future" like I do Mechanical Malfunctions.

    Oct 17, 2016

Share this post


Recent Comments

Monthly Archive