Amazon is testing a drone delivery services, which CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled Sunday night on 60 Minutes through a video demonstration of how a flying octocopter can deliver online purchases to the front doorsteps of a buyer within 30 minutes.
The service is called Amazon Prime Air, which Amazon has been working on in their research and development lab, and it is expected to be ready by the beginning of 2015, when FAA should have completed drafting the rules and regulations for unmanned aerial vehicles.
Prime Air Vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today, according to Amazon.com. The idea is to have the drone deliver orders roughly 30 minutes after the customer hits the "buy" button on Amazon.com, which would allow Amazon to sell a whole lot more products.
Bezo, who has an estimated net worth of at least $25 billion, has revolutionized the way product purchases beginning from books were made since he founded Amazon in 1995. This is the latest futuristic effort by Bezos, who more recently popularized the e-reader - while pursuing personal projects such as private spaceflight and a 10,000-year clock built inside a mountain.
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He told his interviewer Charlie Rose that these generation of vehicles could cover a 10-mile radius from a fulfillment center, but it won't work for everything, such as kayaks or table saws. These octocopters will be powered by electric motors.
Moreover, the drones are autonomous, meaning a consumer will provide instructions of GPS coordinates to go to, and they would fly to those GPS locations.
Although the technology required for reliability and safety are still in the development stage, Bezos gave an optimistic conjecture that it could be within four to five years.
"It will work, and it will happen, and it's gonna be a lot of fun," said Bezos.
A video showing how the service works has already been published to YouTube; it showed the drone picking up the package from the warehouse an dropping it off at the front steps of the customer's home.
"One day, Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today," the company said.
The entire interview can be watched on 60 Minutes website.