After a much-heralded announcement in late December of 2013 in which bank leaders projected the future use of drones in the retrieval of bank deposits, Central National Bank officials have announced that they are no longer actively pursuing their Drone Deposit program.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Joe Nesbitt, president of the bank’s Central Tower location, said, “We’re obviously disappointed to shut down something that initially seemed like a really good idea. The more testing we did, though, the more we could see that—from a practical standpoint—it just wasn’t going to work.”
When asked to provide specifics for why the program was being dismantled, Nesbitt added, “We couldn’t afford to keep throwing money at the project—literally. It was hard for the money to stay attached to the drone. Plus, we also received a cease and desist letter from Amazon’s lawyers; but, the legal notice played only a small part in our decision-making…something about intellectual property and copyright infringement…or something along those lines.”
The news sent shockwaves throughout the bank, leaving many employees wondering why the project was even green-lighted in the first place.
“To be perfectly honest, I knew it was never going to work,” said Mark Benning, a credit analyst who helped film the bank’s December video that showcased the Drone Deposit program. “I mean, there was a huge, glaring problem with the program—it wasn’t even a drone. Let’s get that straight. It was a toy helicopter. If the wind was blowing more than 1 mph, it just couldn’t be trusted.”
Pilot program with bad piloting
Susie Rodgers, a customer of the bank for more than 25 years was—according to bank officials—“one of a few people” who participated in the beta group for the bank’s pilot program. Upon further investigation of bank records, it appears Rodgers was the only participant. Bank officials would not comment on the discrepancy.
“I thought it sounded like a great idea,” remembers Rodgers, who describes herself as a tech-savvy grandmother who looks forward to the day when Amazon will drone-deliver cat food to her doorstep. “I have seven cats, and when you get my age, it’s hard putting those heavy bags in the grocery buggy.”
Rodgers, though, was in for a surprise when she first tried out the bank’s Drone Deposit program.
“I was sitting at home in my rocking chair, and I heard a horrendous noise on the roof. When I finally walked out my front door, my gutters were hanging off the house and the drone was upside down in my shrubs.”
According to the bank, Rodgers was reimbursed for the damages after a three-week independent review concluded the damage was—in fact—caused by the drone.
Holding out hope
Despite the program’s failures, as of Tuesday morning, one bank official wasn’t ready to completely write off the program just yet.
“As toy-helicopter technology continues to advance, it’s certainly possible we’ll revisit this project down the road,” said Bryan Fonville, who spearheaded the bank’s Drone Deposit task force. “Like Leonardo DaVinci, I suppose we’re just a little ahead of our time. But, eventually the rest of the world will catch up. And, when they do, we’ll be ready. Trust me, it’ll catch on.”