What if … Worcester: Dateline 2044 — Delivery drone crash tests school’s new safety dome

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Editor’s note: This is the third installment of our newest series What if … Worcester, what we hope to be a fascinating, imaginative and often reality-based window into the coming decades and centuries in and around the City of Seven Hills.

TUESDAY, Sept. 6, 2044 — An Amazon-operated delivery drone botched an emergency landing yesterday, almost hitting the Perkins Farm Primary School Playground. The drone skidded off the school’s recently installed safety dome and crashed to the sidewalk below. The drone was about the size of a trash barrel and weighed 23 kilograms (50 pounds). No one was injured.

The incident occurred about 2:15 p.m. as students were outside the former Roosevelt Elementary, but on the other side of the building, awaiting pickup.

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Parents within the dome report hearing a series of muffled thumps from above but not seeing anything. Outside, witnesses heard the thumps, and saw a delivery drone attempting to land on the curved surface. “It wobbled for a minute, as if it wasn’t sure if it was going to land or launch again, but by then gravity took over. It slid right down the dome and smashed onto the sidewalk,” said John Ayim, who was walking to pick up his daughter.

Police taped off the area on Grafton Street around the broken machine. About 30 minutes later, a white unmarked van pulled up. Three men in unlabeled khaki jumpsuits took photos, meticulously collected every last bit of debris, and placed them into containers. Then the van drove in the direction of the General Electric Turnpike on-ramp.


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