The following text appears, verbatim, on the USPS.com website:
Three weeks after the battles of Lexington and Concord, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia in May 1775 to plan for the defense of the colonies against British aggression and “to take into consideration the state of America.” The conveyance of letters and intelligence was essential to the cause of liberty. A committee, chaired by Benjamin Franklin and including Samuel Adams, Richard Henry Lee, Philip Livingston, Thomas Lynch, and Thomas Willing, was named to consider the creation of a postal system.
The committee reported back to Congress on July 25, 1775. The Continental Congress agreed to the committee’s recommendations on the following day, creating the position of Postmaster General, and naming Franklin to it. Richard Bache, Franklin’s son-in-law, was named comptroller, and William Goddard was appointed surveyor.
Under Franklin and his immediate successors, the postal system mainly carried communications between Congress and the armies. Postmasters and post riders were exempt from military duties so service would not be interrupted.
Benjamin Franklin served as Postmaster General until November 7, 1776. He was in office when the Declaration of Independence created the United States in July 1776, making Franklin the first Postmaster General of the United States. America’s present Postal Service descends from the system Franklin placed in operation.
Nothing has really changed at the US Postal Service over the past two-and-a-half centuries. Suddenly, enter Jeff Bezos:
Amazon outlines the idea of a “central control system” which could communicate with each docking station. The system would calculate the most direct route for a drone to follow, and be able to redirect it along a path with the most favorable conditions, for example, with the least wind.
The ability to recharge is also very useful as the drones are unlikely to be able to travel very large distances.
A drone could also transfer packages at these docking stations. Once it lands, it could deliver a package on a platform which would then move it down via a “vacuum tube, dumbwaiter, elevator, or conveyor” to a delivery person on the ground.
Amazon also said the docking stations could act as cell towers, so that they could provide local free or fee-based internet services in public areas “without bearing the burden of installing some, or all, of the necessary infrastructure”.
Also, the docking stations could be used for advertising to “generate additional revenue for the provider”, according to Amazon.
Disruptive innovation at its finest.