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Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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This is the future

10 February 2020

It's late o'clock and you're hungry.

What do you do?

You pull out your phone and order a pizza.

The transaction (including payment) is processed in the blink of an eye and your "mega pepperoni, meat-blaster, vindaloo pizza with extra cheese" is soon in the oven and charing lightly around the edges.

Of course you opted for the "free delivery" option so it is now only a matter of minutes before this mouth-watering, artery-clogging treat will be in your drooling mouth.

But how will it get from the Pizza place to your house?

Well traditionally, chains like Dominos, Pizza Hut and such have used poorly paid labour in the form of "delivery guys". These people would stuff a huge stack of pizza boxes on the back of their little 50cc motorbikes or on the seats of their rusty old 1984 Mazda 323 and drive to your house to dump their biological weapons into your hands.

But this is the third decade of the 21st century and things are about to change.

It won't be too long before your pizza (and a bunch of other stuff) will be delivered by drone -- but wait, I'm not talking about noisy, flying devices that buzz overhead and descend from the skies with your tasty treats.

No, I have predicted for quite some time now that flying delivery drones for low-value items such as fast-foods were a bust. Too expensive, too risky, too complex, too energy inefficient.

Today I saw that *my* predictions for autonomous delivery craft were coming true!

The BBC carried this story featuring an autonomous delivery drone... in the form of a driverless vehicle.

As I have said, *this* is the future of "drone" delivery.

Just look how much stuff this thing can carry and odds-are that it'll be able to operate all day on a single charge -- unlike its flying equivalent which will not only be limited to a Kg or two of weight but also require recharging between each use.

Then there are the safety aspects...

Tesla's self-drive has been proven remarkably good (albeit not perfect) and the work done by Uber has also been pretty impressive (albeit not so much to one person wheeling their bike across a highway in the USA).

The reality is that ground-based vehicles are just so much safer and more practical than flights of fancy in the form of aerial drones.

I can imagine this sort of vehicle replacing today's courier drivers well before the end of the decade and also becoming a very popular way to deliver fast-food, groceries and a mountain of other similar products in a suburban environment.

Yeah, autonomous delivery vehicles may not be as sexy as flying ones... but they're a damned sight more practical and economically viable.

But hey, regulators in the USA and UK still can't see this... so they're continuing to clear the skies for fleets of flying delivery drones that will never come. Sigh!

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