December 2, 2013

Amazon tests delivery by drone

If Jeff Bezos has his way, the e-commerce giant will be using "octocopters" to deliver product in 2015.

By DC Velocity Staff

It's not a bird. It's not a plane, exactly. And it's not a superhero. But what it may be is a new delivery method for the logistics market in the not-so-distant future: drones.

And, not surprisingly, the company experimenting with drones is the same one that has shaken up the way goods are delivered again and again—Amazon. The company's CEO, Jeff Bezos, revealed on Sunday that the giant online consumer goods company has been testing the use of drones as a way to deliver products to customers located within 10 miles of a DC within 30 minutes of their order being placed.

The company is calling the service-to-be Prime Air. It admits that rolling the service out may still be several years away, requiring additional technological advances as well as development of rules and regulations by the Federal Aviation Administration.

But, Amazon shows how the service might work in a brief video on its website.

Bezos unveiled the experimental service during an interview on 60 Minutes, the weekly CBS news program. The normally hypersecretive Amazon gave 60 Minutes an unprecedented look inside its distribution operations.

Bezos told correspondent Charlie Rose that the delivery vehicles—which he called "octocopters"—could deliver products weighing up to five pounds, which, he said, covers 86 percent of the products the company delivers.

"The hard part here is putting in all the redundancy, all the reliability, all the systems you need to say, 'Look, this thing can't land on somebody's head while they're walking around their neighborhood,'" Bezos told Rose.

Drone deliveries won't be happening any time soon. Bezos said it won't happen until 2015 at the earliest, and will likely be later than that.

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