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The Coming Rise of Drone Pirates?

Prepare for Amazon’s drone delivery system. Along with it, prepare for a new form of theft: drone piracy.

As your package makes its way toward home, drone interceptors will snag packages – and possibly the delivery drone itself.

Why shouldn’t we expect this? Criminals love the anonymity they have on the ‘net. Similarly, drone pirates will be able to stay relatively distant from their crimes. The only question is to what extent we should expect drone piracy; not whether it will happen.

To thwart this new type of crime, delivery systems will no doubt implement countermeasures:

  • low-risk package types
  • safe flight paths
  • GPS tracking

By employing drone delivery only for packages with low street value, there will be less incentive to attempt this kind of piracy. If most packages are low value, then piracy can be kept to the realm of low-ROI theft. Still, it would be in the courier’s interest to push the limits of what can be delivered by air, and no doubt machine learning will be deployed to predict the likelihood of accident, including by not limited to theft and injury-by-falling-drone.

By following safer flight paths, there is lower liability associated with drone interceptors colliding mid-air and resulting in falling drones from the skies (note that Amazon appears to be testing in rural areas first.)

By employing GPS tracking, delivery companies can hopefully reduce the “anonymity” appeal of drone hijacking. This can include the insertion of returnable GPS tracking devices into the packages themselves at random.

See Amazon Prime Air.

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