We haven’t heard much from Amazon since CEO Jeff Bezos announced back in December that the retailer had ambitious plans to eventually roll out a fleet of drones to deliver your packages. But if the idea of having whirly-bladed quad-copters bringing you that Doctor Who box set you ordered in a haze at 4 a.m. last Friday night sounds a little farfetched, there’s at least one place drone delivery could soon become a reality: the United Arab Emirates.
The UAE government announced it is developing a plan to use drones to deliver “official documents and packages,” reports Reuters–stuff like government IDs and drivers licenses. Designed by Emirati engineer Abdulrahman Alserkal, the delivery robots measure half a meter across, and will reportedly be equipped with fingerprint and eye-recognition security systems for ID purposes. The hope is to have buzzy, retina-scanning UAVs navigating Dubai’s beautiful world-class skyscrapers before the end of the year.
“The UAE will try to deliver its government services through drones. This is the first project of its kind in the world,” said minister of cabinet Mohammed al-Gergawi. It will be an uphill fight to say the least. While these drones wouldn’t be toting precious cargo like, say, pizza or tacos, from a mechanical standpoint they will face a number of region-specific obstacles, including temperatures regularly in the 100-degree Fahrenheit range as well as the occasional sandstorm.