Amazon Tests Flying Robots for Same-Day Package Delivery

In an effort to get goods to customers even faster, Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) is testing flying robots that may be able to provide same-day delivery by 2015. The company's CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled the Prime Air service on Sunday night during an episode of news show 60 Minutes. Amazon may start using the flying drones, which can make a delivery within 30 minutes, within five years pending Federal Aviation Administration approval.

Bezos said the aerial gadgets, called octocopters, will be able to transport packages 5 pounds or less within a 10-mile radius of an Amazon fulfillment center. The company has been aggressively building distribution centers in an increasing number of urban areas, thus, Prime Air would hypothetically serve a significant number of customers. The company currently has 89 warehouses in the U.S. and is already working on opening 7 more within the next year.

"It will work, and it will happen, and it's gonna be a lot of fun," Bezos said in the 60 Minutes interview broadcast yesterday, Dec. 1. "I know this looks like science fiction, it's not. This is early, this is still years away."

Amazon's drone delivery service will have to comply with the Federal Aviation Administration's new airspace rules for unmanned aircraft. The U.S. Congress has directed the FAA to develop a plan to integrate such drones into U.S. airspace by December 2015.

Amazon has been ramping up ways to get products to consumers more quickly, as it seeks to keep shoppers coming back to buy from its online store instead of going to brick- and-mortar retailers. News of the drones comes on the heels of last month's announcement that Amazon has partnered with the U.S. Postal Service to begin Sunday delivery for the first time in the company's history.

Take a look at the video below to get a glimpse at Prime Air. 


For more see:
This Amazon announcement
This Bloomberg article

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