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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RE: Ain't going to happen.
By Dr of crap on 12/2/2013 12:53:12 PM , Rating: 1
Yea, and 15 years ago could you have searched the web from a 3 inch screen device that you hold in you hand, and make calls, and send "text" messages, and also hook this device up to you car????

RE: Ain't going to happen.
By FITCamaro on 12/2/2013 1:19:04 PM , Rating: 1
There are also no unavoidable safety concerns around the idea of making calls or text messages from a device in your hand.

These have many safety concerns that are impossible to eliminate.

RE: Ain't going to happen.
By Reclaimer77 on 12/2/2013 3:53:23 PM , Rating: 2
These have many safety concerns that are impossible to eliminate.

There's millions of tons of aircraft flying over our perspective heads every day, each one with enough destructive potential to wreck a city.

I think our society could handle a few delivery RC copters.

RE: Ain't going to happen.
By w8gaming on 12/3/2013 2:34:46 AM , Rating: 2
Aircraft is monitored by air traffic control all over the world. Even civilian aircraft is monitored. And they are all piloted by highly trained pilots, with good understanding of how aviation works. So the challenge for Amazon is: need to pay high salary to their pilots that operate the drones, need to subject to strict regulations that service their drones regularly to keep them in top conditions. And how many drones are they planning to fly? If there are just a few then it probably is not going to have any significant impact except to generate publicity. If there are too many, they will have to find a lot of qualified pilots which will cause them a lot of money. And landing the drone will be an issue if the delivery is to a city due to too much obstruction. And how are they going to avoid the legal liability of one of the pilot going rogue and fly the drone in a destructive manner? It is simply cheaper to find a truck driver to deliver the package instead of flying a drone. At least they will not have to worry bad weather grounding their drones.

RE: Ain't going to happen.
By Keeir on 12/2/2013 4:02:39 PM , Rating: 2
Says the guy who gets into a device dependant on a engine that converts a mildly toxic substance into rotational engery several thousand times a second via a 4 stage process that including high pressures and contained explosions, which is steered using multiple mechanical linkages hooked up to wetware suspectable to a wide range of over and under stimulants. Who then proceeds to use this device to minutes to hours a day passing within feet of other such devices run independant wetware. The device is also requires maintainence or is liable to break down.

Its not required to eliminate the safety concerns, but to bring the occurance down to a reasonable level for the convience offered. Traditional truck delievery approaches are not without safety consquences either.

Concerns such as colliding drones, or packages/drones falling on people, are manageable issues. The amount of usable space in the air is almost unbelievable. And believe it or not, even in densely populated areas, it is unlikely that a crashing drone/package will actually injury someone. After all, parts fall off of commerical and military planes with somewhat frequency, and these never seem to be a huge concern. TFOA incidents have occured for decades, with little public awareness suggesting for the most part, little personal or property damage occurs.


RE: Ain't going to happen.
By Labotomizer on 12/2/2013 4:26:42 PM , Rating: 3
I expected better from a tech site to be perfectly honest. I get all the people freaking out over this because "change is bad" and all that.

I would bet money that if we had internet back when we were moving from horses to these space age cars there would have been a lot of similar arguments.

Cheaper then FedEx/UPS/USPS? Yes.
Greener than FedEx/UPS/USPS? Yes.
Faster than FedEx/UPS/USPS? Yes.

For those three reasons it makes this something that is a worthwhile pursuit. The only reason it won't come to fruition is the FAA is full people who waited 10+ years too long to allow electronic device usage during takeoff and landing.

Eventually the skies will be full of drones and other autonomous aircraft that make our lives easier. Just like cars will drive themselves and run on hydrogen and/or battery. It's not a matter of if it's only a matter of when. Why? Because that's how society is trending. Technology ultimately evolves to make our lives better and easier and UAVs delivering packages in short time spans definitely qualifies. And since it's cheaper than shipping you'll likely get it as an option with Amazon Prime.

And eventually everyone will move to this. It's just how the world works.

RE: Ain't going to happen.
By Reclaimer77 on 12/2/2013 4:44:58 PM , Rating: 2
I expected better from a tech site to be perfectly honest. I get all the people freaking out over this because "change is bad" and all that.

Honestly this place seems to be made up of mostly Luddites or something. Anytime some new technology comes up, it's instantly shouted down for being unsafe or for it being used in some unintended way.

I mean good grief, read some of the comments on the Google Glass restaurant article. Rampant paranoia and efforts to categorize it's users as rude voyeurs or something.

Cheaper then FedEx/UPS/USPS? Yes. Greener than FedEx/UPS/USPS? Yes. Faster than FedEx/UPS/USPS? Yes.

I would say safer too. The chances of the driver wrecking to deliver your package is way higher than this drone having an accident or whatever nonsense people are saying.

RE: Ain't going to happen.
By Labotomizer on 12/2/2013 4:49:14 PM , Rating: 2
Good point and removing the human factor will almost certainly make it safer. Just as cars will be safer because we won't be the ones controlling them.

And sadly the same responses seem to proliferate all the tech sites. I would expect people who are interested in technology and scientific news would be a little more forward thinking.

There are always some safety concerns I suppose but something that weights a total of 10 lbs falling from the sky isn't the end of the world. Oh, and it's an octocopter and can lose quite a few engines before it would "fall from the sky". And assuming it lost signal, loses engines or whatever else I'm sure it's programmed to find a safe place and just land.

RE: Ain't going to happen.
By w8gaming on 12/3/2013 2:38:18 AM , Rating: 2
If we cannot even allow self driving cars on the road yet, how do you think the society will have allowed self flying drones in the sky? They will demand actual human pilot actively monitor and control EACH drone.

RE: Ain't going to happen.
By sorry dog on 12/3/2013 7:55:38 PM , Rating: 2

Not that I'm against this kind of tech, but some ground rules also need to be set. If the drone is using public right of way then fine, but as soon as one flies over my back yard then game on.

At least I have a few years to saving up for my own air superiority drone.

RE: Ain't going to happen.
By Keeir on 12/3/2013 7:02:35 PM , Rating: 2
Cheaper then FedEx/UPS/USPS? Yes.
Greener than FedEx/UPS/USPS? Yes.

Wait a second there. Those are some fairly bold claims to make. And probably untrue.

For one thing, the amount of energy required to acchieve the 10 mile radius indicates these guys are going to need 2-3 kWh batteries. Presumably lithium. They are also likely to have a resource usage of around .1 kWh/mile/lb. A UPS truck uses around 4 kWh/mile. Presumably, UPS trucks are carrying much more than 40 lbs of packages along a typical route.

A second thing is that unless we make major advances in battery technology, there is be a fairly strict limit to zone of flight and carry wieght (more wieght/range requires more batteries which limit range which require more batteries, etc). Whereas 1 distrabution center for UPS could easily cover a 100 mile radius (volume dependant), Amazon's drones would need 100! of the same centers.

They are likely to be more expensive and less green that FedEx/UPS etc. However, they are very convienent and cheap and green provided you goal is such tight timelines.

RE: Ain't going to happen.
By nafhan on 12/2/2013 6:01:01 PM , Rating: 2
These have many safety concerns that are impossible to eliminate.
I'm guessing you also avoid things like skiiing, swimming, and walking out your front door? Practically any activity you can think of has safety concerns. This, by itself, is not a valid reason to avoid things.

RE: Ain't going to happen.
By 1prophet on 12/3/2013 12:39:14 PM , Rating: 2
A valid reason would be when you can't get insurance or the costs are ridiculously high for these drones,

think of all the sue happy lawyers eying Amazon or some other big company owning the drones.

RE: Ain't going to happen.
By nafhan on 12/4/2013 11:54:19 AM , Rating: 2
You won't be able to get real numbers regarding insurance or liability costs on a hypothetical drone fleet because it doesn't exist.

In other words: you have no idea if it's a valid reason, and neither do I.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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