Amazon Promises 30-Minute Delivery By Drone

The company hopes to establish the new delivery system in the next four or five years

By Marcus Harun
|  Monday, Dec 2, 2013  |  Updated 3:05 PM EDT
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Overnight shipping too slow? Soon, you may be able to get your online purchases delivered in 30 minutes -- by drone.

Amazon’s new Prime Air service hopes to deliver packages via unmanned “Octocopter” drones, CEO Jeff Bezos said on CBS’ “60 Minutes” Sunday. 

The drones can carry packages up to five pounds, which covers 86 percent of the items that Amazon delivers, Bezos said. The drones fly themselves using GPS coordinates.

The half-hour delivery service would likely be offered to customers living near large metropolitan areas, as the “Octocopters” will fly about 10 miles from company warehouses.

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Bezos said the new delivery system is still four to five years away as the company awaits Federal Aviation Administration approvals and continues to fine-tune its method.

"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 said.

Technology experts were skeptical such a service could be implemented so quickly, NBC News reported. A FAA status report released last month, meanwhile, called "the safe integration" of drones into the National Airspace System a "significant challenge." 

The fastest shipping method Amazon currently offers is one-day service, and the company says there is a demand for even faster delivery.

“We’re continuously working on ways to get packages to customers faster,” Amazon spokesperson Mary Osako said. “We think customers will love getting items in 30 minutes or less.”

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Prime Air is still being tested, and Osako would not specify how long the program has been in development, saying, “It’s an innovation we’ve thought about for some time.”

Though it may seem like a concept out of a science fiction movie, Bezos promised Amazon Prime Air is real.

“It will work, and it will happen, and it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Bezos told "60 Minutes."

See a demonstration of the Prime Air program in the video from Amazon above or click here.

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