Amazon unveils “Prime Air,” a plan to deliver by drone in just 30 minutes

Amazon logoOn 60 Minutes (video) this weekend, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos surprised correspondent Charlie Rose by revealing a new R&D project to deliver packages via drone. It's called Amazon Prime Air.

This future Amazon initiative would use octocopter drones to fly orders directly to customer doorsteps in just 30 minutes. Bezos told the news program he anticipates the project could be rolled out within the next four to five years (with the timing impacted by the FAA's ever evolving approach to drone regulation).

Amazon unveils Prime Air, a plan to deliver by drone in just 30 minutes

Amazon did not let CBS in on the news before the taping, and that only strengthened Rose's reaction (“I had no idea what its purpose was at first glance,” he later admitted). According to the CBS write-up, Bezos even taunted producers a bit during a tape change: “If you can guess what it is, then... I will give you half my fortune and send you to Vegas with it.” To further emphasize the 'unbelievability,' Amazon's FAQ on the project begins with a simple question: is it science fiction?

It looks like science fiction, but it's real. From a technology point of view, we'll be ready to enter commercial operations as soon as the necessary regulations are in place. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is actively working on rules for unmanned aerial vehicles.

Ars took a look at the growing capabilities of such tiny drones last year in a feature called Teaching tiny drones how to fly themselves. More information about the Amazon initiative and the specific devices at its core will likely trickle out in the coming weeks. Ars will continue to research and monitor the situation and will report further on Prime Air when better details become available.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Amazon, technologies

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