Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos is well known for thinking out of the box, but this time we think he’s outdone himself with the announcement of Amazon Prime Air, a new delivery service for Amazon Prime members that uses a fleet of drones to deliver items ordered off of the online giant’s site in half an hour. The drones are capable of carrying up to five pound packages (2.26kg), which according to Bezos is around 86% of all of Amazon’s deliveries. The branded octocopters can deliver a package up to 10 miles (16km) from any one of Amazon’s 96 fulfilment centers which already cater to Amazon’s ground based Prime shipping service which offers same day delivery.
The only thing standing in the way of Amazon rolling this out is the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) which is still busy working on rules for the commercial use of drones in the US. Amazon is hoping that these rules will be in place by 2015 so that it can start making Amazon Prime Air drone “as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today.” Amazon is hardly the first retailer in the world to want to start using drones to deliver small packages with Australian textbook rental company Zookal using drones to deliver text books Down Under from as early as next year.
The Amazon Prime Air project was unveiled on US TV show 60 Minutes and you can see some of the behind the scenes footage to get more of an insight into the project that will see the skies over major US cities dotted with UAVs in the future.