AMAZON AHEAD AGAIN: BEZOS’ “DRONE DREAM” LEADING THE WAY IN RETAIL INNOVATION

The newest innovation in retail is the concept of delivery by drone, introduced by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last week.  Bezos has optimistically predicted his dream will become a reality within 5 years and will provide customers with the option to receive their packages within 30 minutes of placing their orders.  While the drone concept, which seems like something straight from a science fiction movie, is an exciting and interesting prospect, it does pose some obvious liability risks that retailers will have to assess and mitigate.  According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, there are environmental factors and potential risks to people and property on the ground that must be taken into account before the drone project goes live.  First, the drones will likely require FAA and potentially EPA approval, both of which can be lengthy processes.  Secondly, risk of trespass, property damage and attractive nuisance claims may exist.  For example, it has likely not been addressed by many courts whether a drone delivering your neighbor’s packages by flying over your yard may be a trespass on your property, the Wall Street Journal notes.  Regarding obvious questions and concerns for safety, and Amazon spokeswoman stated “Safety will be our top priority, and our vehicles will be built with multiple redundancies and designed to commercial aviation standards.”  Amazon has several years to work out the kinks of what has been dubbed “the drone dream” and in the process it is likely some of these legal and safety risks may be addressed.  For more information check out:

Amazon’s Drone Delivery Idea Faces Hurdles-Greg Bensinger- Wall Street Journalhttp://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2013/12/02/amazons-drone-delivery-idea-faces-hurdles/

Amazon’s Drone Dreams and the Future of Retail – Derek Thompson – The Atlantichttp://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/12/amazons-drone-dreams-and-the-future-of-retail/281972/

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