Amazon dominates the online retail space by offering a massive selection, competitive prices and fast, affordable shipping--not to mention personalized ads that seem to know what you want before you even realize it. But one thing Amazon can't compete with is the immediacy of a brick and mortar location. After all, what could be faster than hopping in your car and driving to the store?
As it turns out, Amazon believes it has an answer: drones.
Appearing on 60 Minutes, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos outlined his vision for the future of same-day parcel shipping. "These are octocopers," Bezos told CBS's Charlie Rose. "These are effectively drones, but there's no reason they can't be used as delivery vehicles."
Bezos admits the innovation, dubbed Prime Air, is still years away and won't work for all deliveries, but he's excited about its potential.
"I know this looks like science fiction--it's not," said Bezos. "We can do half-hour delivery and we can carry objects, we think, up to five pounds, which covers 86% of the items that we deliver."
The current generation of electric-powered drones have about a 10 mile radius, which could be particularly effective in servicing more densely populated areas. The vehicles use GPS to autonomously drop packages at a predetermined locations. Amazon is developing redundancies that it feels will someday enable safe, reliable drone deliveries.
But when's someday?
"I'm an optimist," said Bezos. "I know it can't be before 2015 because that's the earliest that we could get the rules from the FAA. But could it be 4, 5 years? I think so."
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