An Amazon PrimeAir drone. REUTERS/Amazon.com
Delivery drones are on their way.
Amazon.com Inc. has introduced Prime Air, a futuristic
delivery system that the company says will get packages into
customers' hands in half an hour or less, delivered via
unmanned aerial vehicles.
The online retail behemoth posted a video on its website that
shows images of a recent Prime Air test flight.
In the 80-second clip, a shopper buys an item on Amazon. The
item is then placed into a yellow plastic Amazon container
and picked up at the end of a conveyor belt by an Amazon
drone, which takes off and soars over a grassy field before
depositing the package with a thud outside the shopper's
"One day, Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail
trucks on the road today," the company said in a brief
Q&A on its website.
Amazon said the company has been working on Prime Air in its
next-generation research and development lab, but cautioned
that it would be a while before customers could choose it as
a delivery option.
"Putting Prime Air into commercial use will take some number
of years as we advance the technology and wait for the
necessary (Federal Aviation Administration) rules and
regulations," the company said.
Amazon added that it hoped the agency would put in place
rules for unmanned aerial vehicles by 2015. "We will be ready
at that time," it said.
Amazon founder and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos introduced the
delivery-by-drone concept during a segment on CBS' "60
Minutes" on Sunday. He said Prime Air would be available for
packages weighing 5 pounds or less.
Already known for free, two-day delivery via its Amazon Prime
membership programme, the company has lately been
experimenting with same-day delivery. It has also expanded
its grocery delivery offerings and, most recently, announced
that it was teaming with the US Postal Service to deliver
Amazon packages on Sundays.