Amazon unveils plans for Prime Air – 30-minute delivery via drones

prime-air_high-resolution01Last Thanksgiving week was likely a stressful time if you were a Black Friday shopper, as people were going crazy to save on a couple of bucks on personal items and Christmas gifts. But, for those like me who were too fearful of their lives to brave the danger of the brick-and-mortar stores on Friday morning, shopping online was a wonderful alternative. I’m currently waiting on a copy of The Last of Us that I snapped up for $25 during Amazon’s Lighting Deal sales, and it’ll be here soon. Amazon’s usually pretty quick about it. Two-day delivery through Amazon Prime is pretty good, but what if they could cut the wait down to 30 minutes?

In an interview on “60 Minutes” Sunday evening, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled what he hopes to be the future of Amazon’s delivery system: Amazon Prime Air, delivery by drones. The service will work like this: once you’ve hit the order button on Amazon.com, your items at the Amazon fulfillment center will go into small buckets and be taken to your house by way of unmanned octocopters.

The Amazon-branded drones will be able to deliver packages up to five pounds. Not all deliveries will work this way, but it’s ideal for smaller items, which make up 86 percent of all Amazon orders. The drones are completely unmanned, directed by GPS, with a range of 10 miles. If you end up living near one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers, the idea is you’ll get your package within 30 minutes or less of hitting the “buy” button.

Bezos says most of the challenge will come from proving the safety of the drones by the standards of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Once regulations are in place, Amazon Prime Air could become the next standard of home delivery. Bezos estimates that the service is 4 or 5 years away, and Amazon hopes the FAA’s rules for unmanned aerial vehicles will be in place as early as 2015.

Check out Amazon’s official Prime Air page for footage of one of their test flights.

By Alfredo Dizon, eParisExtra

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