Amazon is the biggest online marketplace in the world, but they also want to be the leading drone delivery service as well. It’s no secret that Amazon wants to pioneer commercial drone technology. Ever since Jeff Bezos’ announcement in 2013, the company has aggressively promoted its future drone delivery service.
However, Amazon is also in the process of taking things one step further. Amazon recently filed patents for drone deliveries that will drop off purchases directly onto buyers’ doorsteps, and then scan their homes to see if there is anything else Amazon could sell them!
Amazon’s interest in drone delivery is nothing new. Reports about the company’s investment in this technology have been around for years. What’s different now is that aside from delivering items to clients’ homes, Amazon is planning on using technology to gather customer data, much the same way they use their algorithms to track buyer preferences online.
According to a patent document recently released, it seems that Amazon is now using techniques to analyze data obtained by during the delivery. Naturally, many privacy advocates are concerned about this new development, many of whom are concerned that Amazon will use the video footage gathered by their drones to predict what they can sell to their customers.
Most people know that Amazon’s business model is based on tailored products and recommendations. The site’s search algorithms use search terms and buying preferences to recommend items to clients. Amazon’s new drone patent, however, will effectively give the company the ability to turn its drones into “secret agents” to gather even more information.
However, Amazon’s patent is not as invasive as some people think. According to the 23 page document, the new service will implement an opt-out option for clients who don’t want Amazon’s drones scanning their house for information. Another possible feature are geo-fencing restrictions, which will limit data gathering to delivery recipients only.
What matters now is that people who want to enjoy Amazon’s drone services, but who also value their privacy, should make it explicitly clear to Amazon that they don’t want their drones spying on their house or taking down notes about their buying preferences. The company has an opt-out policy and clients should take advantage of this provision if they value their privacy.
It’s worth remembering that Amazon is not the only company that is pioneering drone delivery technology. Other companies also use drone technology to deliver their products to their customers. One good example is Deutsche Post’s “md4-1000s,” which were originally used to deliver medicine. In Shenzhen, China, SF Express uses Xaicraft drones to handle its delivery services. And USPS uses HorseFly Frones as part of its delivery systems.
Although many companies have integrated drones with their delivery and logistical services, such services are not used to gather client data or buying preferences. They are only used to delivery items and then leave. If Amazon decides to push through with its plans, however, then it could set a precedent for commercial entities to start using their drones for tasks other than delivery or client services.