Amazon will soon be going to new heights to deliver packages to customers’ front doors within half an hour of the order being placed.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos revealed to CBS’ Charlie Rose that, in the next five years, the eCommerce king is planning to use autonomous ‘octocopters’ — essentially a small drone — that relies on GPS to deliver customers’ packages from nearby fulfillment centers.
“I know this looks like science fiction,” Bezos said. “It’s not.”
The initiative, which has been dubbed Amazon PrimeAir, will only be used to deliver packages that weigh five pounds or less.
“These generations of vehicles, it could be a 10-mile radius from a fulfillment center,” Bezos told Rose on 60 Minutes. “So, in urban areas, you could actually cover very significant portions of the population. And so, it won’t work for everything; you know, we’re not gonna deliver kayaks or table saws this way. These are electric motors, so this is all electric; it’s very green, it’s better than driving trucks around.”
Bezos said the technology is still in the development phase and the company must also receive FAA approval.
The FAA is currently working on rules for unmanned aerial vehicles with a focus on public safety. While it is not known when the new rules will be in place, Bezos said it could be by 2015 and the drones could then be in the sky the year after.
“One day, Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today,” the company said on an FAQ page. “Safety will be our top priority. Our vehicles will be built with multiple redundancies and designed to commercial aviation standards.”