updated 08:23 pm EST, Sun December 1, 2013
Amazon to deliver packages by drone
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Sunday revealed a new service that could soon deliver Amazon orders directly to customers' doorsteps by unmanned aircraft. Bezos revealed Prime Air Sunday night on CBS' 60 minutes, telling CBS Anchor Charlie Rose that the company has been working on the technology in its Seattle headquarters for months. The service isn't set to roll out for some time, but it could mark a revolution in the online retail market, as Amazon could bypass the current package delivery system entirely, delivering goods to customers in as little as half an hour.
Prime Air would operate using "octocopters," programmable drones with eight small helicopter blades, making them very maneuverable. The drones would grab small packages and deliver them to customers' doorsteps using GPS guidance.
Bezos admitted that the service could be as many as five years away. It would have to clear a number of safety and regulatory barriers before it could launch. Chief among those would be clearance from the United States Federal Aviation Administration. The program also would not work for everything, and Bezos believes it would be best suited for delivering smaller items.