Drone is considered a dirty word, but would you think better of the flying robots if they delivered your Christmas shopping? On Sunday, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos revealed Prime Air, the company’s experimental shipping service that promises to deliver small packages to your doorstep in 30 minutes or less. The unmanned “octocopter” drones could be ready for commercial lift off in as little as four to five years.
“I know this looks like science fiction, it’s not,” says Bezos in an interview with Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes. Each drone can deliver packages up to five pounds–86-percent of Amazon’s typical orders–to any customer living within a ten-mile radius of an Amazon distribution center. That means that last minute shoppers could receive their purchases in half an hour or less after clicking the “buy” button.
Still in its early phases, Bezos says that the innovation drone delivery system won’t take flight until after more safety testing and FAA approval. In a short Amazon Prime Air Q&A, the company writes: “One day, Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today.”