"Amazon Prime Air" drones will deliver your package within 30 minutes of ordering.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has unveiled a bold new initiative for his world-famous delivery company: flying robot delivery drones. The service, which sounds like something straight out of The Jetsons, is called "Amazon Prime Air", and should start rolling out as early as 2015. Amazon has released a video of the drones in action, taking packages from a warehouse to the customers doorsteps within 30 minutes of the customer clicking the "buy" button.
Bezos says that the unmanned drones are already in place for commercial distribution, but the company must wait on the FAA to approve them first. Additional safety testing also needs to be performed, as this is the first ever case of unmanned drones being used en masse for commercial purposes. "I know it looks like Science Fiction. It's not," Bezos said in an interview on 60 Minutes.
The drones will be able to carry objects up to five pounds, which according to Bezos, is 86% of what Amazon delivers. They are powered by small electric motors, and can service a ten mile radius from their home fulfillment center, thus ensuring coverage for a significant portion of urban population. The drones operate autonomously, and use GPS co-ordinates to deliver their packages.
"It's very green, it's better than driving trucks around," commented Bezos. The F.A.Q for Prime Air boldly imagines a future where fleets of the unmanned drones are as prevalent as delivery trucks are today.
Put this one in the "the future is now" column. This is just insanely cool in every way it can be, but I can't help but think: what's to stop people from nicking and/or messing with the drones when they land? Any sort of "security system" would be an obvious safety hazard, and these things can't be cheap to make.