support drone delivery study

Half of Americans still don’t support drone delivery, study finds

Google loves drone delivery. The Girl Scouts love drone delivery. Heck, even Bono loves drone delivery.

But most American’s don’t.

A study commissioned by Alexandria, Virginia-based international public affairs firm The Hawthorn Group asked Americans questions around whether they view drones unfavorably or favorably, whether they had safety concerns, and whether they expect drones to actually begin home deliveries on a significant scale.

801 completed telephone interviews later, and they found that 42% of Americans do not think drone delivery is a good idea. And an even higher 49% think delivery drones are too dangerous.

But whether or not Americans want them, Americans overwhelmingly expect that they are coming. 70% of Americans said they expect drones to begin home deliveries in the next five to ten years.

Here are some of the most interesting results of the study:

On accidents related to drone delivery

  • 82% of Americans believe that commercial drones used for small scale and cargo deliveries will cause a serious accident sooner or later (37% strongly believe, and 45% somewhat believe)
  • 68% of Americans are somewhat or extremely concerned about general drone safety
  • 32% of Americans do not believe that drones are safe for commercial use in and over communities and neighborhoods (24% somewhat do not believe, and 8% strongly do not believe)

On controlling drones

  • 86.6% of Americans think TSA should have authority to shoot down drones that violate the law by getting too close to airports
  • 93.7% of Americans think law enforcement officials should have the authority to shoot down drones that pose an immediate risk to public safety
  • 71.3% of Americans think Chinese-made drones should be banned from U.S. government agencies

Drone delivery today spans from kind-of-hokey (we’re looking at you, Chipotle burritos flying down the hill) to legitimately useful. For example, Zipline, a drone delivery company focusing on medical deliveries in developing countries (primarily in Rwanda and Ghana), allows health workers to send a text message to Zipline requesting medical supplies that were located in Zipline’s distribution hub. Zipline says customers receive those drone deliveries in 30 minutes on average, which can be helpful, especially in poor, rural areas that might not have extra supplies at hand.

Wing, the drone arm affiliated with Google, is partnering with with Fedex, Walgreens and a small retailer called Sugar Magnolia to deliver products to people’s homes via drone in Christiansburg, Virginia. Meanwhile, Matternet received permission to make drone deliveries on the WakeMed hospital campus in Raleigh, NC., and Flirtey unveiled its new Flirtey Eagle delivery drone to fly AEDs to medical emergencies

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