Amazon Delivery Drones Still Far Off In The Future According To NASA

By Barry Eitel , Updated Sep 04, 2014 01:23 PM EDT

NASA officials believe that delivery drones sent out to do the bidding of companies like Amazon are still far off in the future, according to a recent interview with The New York Times. While the drones continue to be a fantastic publicity stunt (something Amazon swears they are least not completely), their functionality is far from perfect.

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The agency is developing a "drone traffic control" system, one separate from air traffic control used by airplanes. Dr. Parimal Kopardekar is the principal investigator managing the program, and he believes drone delivery is possible, but isn't feasible yet.

"One at a time you can make them work and keep them safe," Kopardekar told the NYT. "But when you have a number of them in operation in the same airspace, there is no infrastructure to support it."

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While the technology for the drones is there, but drones are still a dirty word to many Americans.

"There is the technology piece and then there is the public acceptance piece, and both have to evolve," Kopardekar continued. "If they are taken over by some rogue elements, how do you manage them? How do you have them safely land and take off in the presence of a grandma doing landscaping and kids playing soccer?"

Amazon continues to work on its drone project like it's the real thing.

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