Print 66 comment(s) - last by Just Tom.. on Dec 9 at 11:34 AM

It should finish testing in about four to five years

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said he wanted to use unmanned "Prime Air" drones for small package delivery. 

During a "60 Minutes" interview with CBS correspondent Charlie Rose, Bezos said the company is currently testing unmanned, octocopter drones called "Prime Air" that have the ability to deliver small packages to customers in just 30 minutes.

The speedy delivery system would pick up packages up to five pounds in weight and deliver them directly to customers' homes or businesses. This could be pretty helpful to Amazin, since packages under five pounds represent about 86 percent of packages that Amazon delivers.

Bezos added that the Prime Air drones are only in testing right now, and they need more safety testing and FAA approvals before they can be used regularly. According to Bezos, this should be in about four to five years. 

Check out more info on the drones from Amazon here.

Sources: CBS News, Amazon

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By mik123 on 12/2/2013 12:17:11 PM , Rating: 3
Wow, this is so cool!
I'm not sure if they can pull it off, but if they do, this can revolutionize mail service!

RE: Wow
By wushuktl on 12/2/2013 12:29:44 PM , Rating: 4
i don't know, i may be in the minority but i really wouldn't want to see these things flying around.

RE: Wow
By nafhan on 12/2/2013 12:47:59 PM , Rating: 2
Any reason why?

The main disadvantage I see in this is that it'll start to be available around the same time as "unmanned" delivery vehicles on the road - which will offer a lot of the benefits while being less expensive to operate and viable for larger cargo.

RE: Wow
By FITCamaro on 12/2/2013 1:17:50 PM , Rating: 5
Strong gusts of wind or rain causing packages to come free and fall onto pedestrians or vehicles.

Hardware failures causing drone and package to plummet out of the sky onto pedestrians or vehicles.

Drone having to place package in backyard or driveway leading to theft, being forgotten about, or crushed packages.

Noise of hundreds or thousands of drones going through the sky in major population centers.

RE: Wow
By Just Tom on 12/2/2013 1:26:31 PM , Rating: 5
While I agree that this is probably an awful idea, mainly due to the safety concerns you mentioned, I don't think theft -assuming the package is delivered to the correct address- is really a problem. If you sign up for 30 minute delivery odds are you are already on location waiting for your package.

RE: Wow
By Mitch101 on 12/2/2013 2:12:05 PM , Rating: 5
Wonder what a Pizza weighs. 30 minutes or less?

RE: Wow
By Souka on 12/2/2013 5:41:23 PM , Rating: 2
Less than 5 lbs, but such delivery cost will likely be $25-50

No mention of delivery cost.. but I work at a hospital, such a service could easily be setup (blood bank roof to hospital roof) and be a life saver.

RE: Wow
By retrospooty on 12/3/2013 9:52:04 AM , Rating: 2
They have already been experimenting with Pizza delivery in the UK with this. No humans or automobiles involved, means its cheaper for the company to use.

Sorry if anyone doesnt like it, its coming. UPS is on it too, and if they are , so are Fedex, DHL and everyone else - because it makes fiscal sense and helps the customer at the same time.

No losers here, except truck drivers maybe LOL. But that is the cost of progress. There weren't alot of livery's left after the car became popular, but the world will move on.

RE: Wow
By Just Tom on 12/9/2013 11:34:07 AM , Rating: 2
It was an one time thing. This is not experimentation, it is a publicity stunt. Hell, it was even run by an ad agency.

RE: Wow
By retrospooty on 12/2/2013 5:15:22 PM , Rating: 2
You are putting alot onto it that I am sure will be thought out first...

"Strong gusts of wind or rain causing packages to come free" - Not available during inclimate weather.

"Hardware failures causing drone and package to plummet out of the sky onto pedestrians or vehicles." Like todays airplanes? Highly unlikely. If one of 8 engines fails, the other 7 take over fine. Sure it could happen, but its not going to be any worse than todays current transportation. In fact, I would bet more people get hurt and/or die in accidents involving current style delivery trucks than this.

"Drone having to place package in backyard or driveway leading to theft" Disclaimer, you must be home when ordering and agree to the terms of service. When it drops it off, it takes a snap of your door - now its on you. Dont want it? Dont use it.

"Noise of hundreds or thousands of drones going through the
sky in major population centers."
- This is nothing compared to todays cars.

RE: Wow
By w8gaming on 12/2/2013 6:43:50 PM , Rating: 2
Are you aware of how much kinetic energy this thing will have when it fell out of sky and hit someone or a vehicle or building? Compare to commercial aircraft is not relevant because aircraft is highly regulated. If Amazon drone has to be subjected to the same kind of regulation, the cost alone will have sunk this idea as a mean for delivery. It is not technology is the issue, it is the economics and its safety concern. Maybe if we all live underground with 3 feet thick of soils above us then it can become viable.

RE: Wow
By retrospooty on 12/2/2013 9:53:58 PM , Rating: 2
Like I said, this will be safer than todays delivery trucks... once its proven safe it will happen.

RE: Wow
By sorry dog on 12/3/2013 9:53:03 AM , Rating: 1

Not until the technology exists for mainstream see and avoid. For that to happen now each drone would need an actual human pilot. Otherwise, collisions would be an almost daily occurrence.

RE: Wow
By nafhan on 12/2/2013 5:53:26 PM , Rating: 2
These sound remarkably similar to reasons why no one should ever have a package delivered to their house via UPS/Fedex/etc.

Without info indicating that these types of problems would increase due to drone delivery, this is not a valid argument against it.

RE: Wow
By GTVic on 12/2/2013 2:33:51 PM , Rating: 2
Also, wouldn't the drones themselves be an easy target for vandals and thieves. I don't see how you could get around that problem.

RE: Wow
By retrospooty on 12/2/2013 5:39:13 PM , Rating: 2
UPS and Fedex drop off packages on most peoples door ring the bell and go, no interface at all unless its shipped with the "signature required" option. EVen with that, you can sign the ticket and have them drop it off at your door. It's just a disclaimer. If it comes in 30-60 minutes, you need to be home to accept or it is your risk/loss. If you werent home, why would you order this? Just use the normal method. This is for the in a hurry delivery and I am sure will cost more. No-one would use this if they werent going to be there.

RE: Wow
By retrospooty on 12/2/2013 5:45:48 PM , Rating: 2
Another possible option that could even replace the "signature required" option... If it is marked that way, the drone beeps outside your door. You open the door and wave it in, it takes your snapshot and drops it off. Any discrepancies, they refer to the snapshot and say this person opened the front door and accepted the delivery.

I would totally agree to that. Great service. All positives and no negatives.

RE: Wow
By blue_urban_sky on 12/3/2013 5:11:29 AM , Rating: 2
Show it a barcode and it will release your package with a loverly little parachute :)

RE: Wow
By retrospooty on 12/3/2013 7:42:58 AM , Rating: 2
Yup and its all tied up with the terms of service disclaimer... If you don't agree to the terms, or wont be home, or feel uncomfortable in any way just don't use it. Pick the cheaper next day options that are delivered on trucks.

RE: Wow
By blue_urban_sky on 12/3/2013 5:14:07 AM , Rating: 2
I like this idea and rase you the truck having unmanned drones to drop off the packages like a parcel laden carrier van ;)

RE: Wow
By marvdmartian on 12/3/2013 7:30:51 AM , Rating: 2
Package delivery via Hellfire missile?? LOL

RE: Wow
By DT_Reader on 12/2/2013 3:30:28 PM , Rating: 2
The problem isn't when Amazon starts doing it, the problem is when USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc. all start doing it. I doubt we want our skies full of drones, and when two drones collide, whose fault is it? Mix in the police drones that many communities are trying to ban and I really don't see this being allowed.

RE: Wow
By Keeir on 12/2/2013 3:47:04 PM , Rating: 2
When two drones collide...

While I am sure that this will occur, assuming these drones typically operate in the 50-500 foot airspace, there is an astonishing amount of airspace available. Assigning companies 10-20 foot bands would significantly reduce collisions.

I'd be more worried about effect on wildlife in having hundreds of drones flying around similiar to birds of prey.

RE: Wow
By Mitch101 on 12/2/2013 4:48:17 PM , Rating: 4
They have to use drones because Unladen Swallows (both African and European) are not common in the US and I looked to see if Amazon sells a Coconut too. There goes my quest.

RE: Wow
By V-Money on 12/2/2013 5:54:07 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't imagine it would be too difficult. When I was in the Navy there were more or less "shipping lanes" that boats would adhere to and as I was on submarines we would use "operating areas" to prevent us from colliding into one another. Something similar could be established I'm sure.

RE: Wow
By superflex on 12/3/2013 12:24:47 PM , Rating: 2
Wait 'till one of Bezos' drones takes out a Bald Eagle on video.

RE: Wow
By retrospooty on 12/2/2013 5:49:11 PM , Rating: 2
" when two drones collide"

Not going to happen. I dont think you are familiar with the tech. See below...

RE: Wow
By M'n'M on 12/2/2013 7:13:41 PM , Rating: 2
Given the lack of air police, I wonder how long it'll be before enterprising teenagers deploy their HK drones, dropping string into the props of Amazons octocopters to down them for their parts ... and maybe something nifty from Amazon too !

Death from Above !!

RE: Wow
By Alexvrb on 12/2/2013 11:42:17 PM , Rating: 2
As long as they paint Pirate markings on their drones (preferably using FTL art as a template) I'm on board. Make sure you hit them with an EMP to disable their tracking devices!

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