Amazon Prime Air: Delivery By Drones

By Joanna Stern - ABC News
By Emma Koch - 21Alive

Credit: ABC News

Amazon Prime Air: Delivery By Drones

December 2, 2013 Updated Dec 2, 2013 at 11:05 AM EDT

UNITED STATES (ABC News) -- For the next few weeks UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service will be working overtime to make sure you get your holiday gifts on time, but if Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos gets his way, in the future, it might be delivery drones working those extra hours.

In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" on Sunday evening, Bezos unveiled Amazon Prime Air, a service that delivers packages via autonomous drones. With the service, Bezos said he hopes that the company will be able to deliver packages into customers hands within 30 minutes of the time they place an order.

The package is pulled off the lines by the octocopter, and then using GPS it is directed to the delivery address. When it arrives it releases the package on the doorstep. Because the octocopter has eight blades, Bezos said, if one broke the drone would still be able to safely drop off a package. As many have remarked, it looks like something out of the Jetsons.

But the future will take some time to arrive, and it's not because of technology capabilities.

"The hardest challenge in making this happen is demonstrating to the standards of the FAA that this is a safe thing to do. This is years of additional work at this point," Bezos said.

The FAA's rules surrounding unmanned aerial vehicles could be in place as early as 2015, Amazon says.

Still Bezos seems to have no doubt that this is the future of shopping. In an interview with ABC News earlier this year, Bezos said that he counts on some of the core customer expectations when building Amazon's future.

"The most important things are the big pieces of stability -- the rocks in the future -- that you can count on. For example in Amazon's retail business, I know that people will want low prices 10 years from now. I know they will want fast delivery," he said.

And the drones seem to be the first step to that last goal mentioned by Bezos.

"I know this looks like science fiction -- it's not," Bezos told CBS. "It will work and it will happen. It's going to be a lot of fun."

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