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Amazon to Use Drones to Deliver Packages in 30 Minutes

Amazon Prime is a popular service offered by retail giant Amazon to ensure customers get their packages as quickly as possible. The company even delivers to Prime customers on Sundays to cut down on unnecessary wait times. However, the company is about to take things to the next level. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently revealed Amazon Prime Air on 60 Minutes. The service would see customers' packages delivered via air drone as soon as 30 minutes after they placed their order.

Bezos says the GPS-controlled drones can carry up to 5 lbs in cargo, which covers more than 85 percent of Amazon's products, and are capable of delivering parcels as far as 10 miles. Given the relatively small delivery area, we'd imagine Amazon Prime Air would be restricted to areas that have Amazon fulfillment centers.

The FAA is expected to introduce its policy on unmanned aerial vehicles by 2015, and it looks like Amazon wants to be ready to move forward as soon as those rules are in place. Speaking to ABC News, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said that it will take a lot of work to convince the FAA.

"The hardest challenge in making this happen is demonstrating to the standards of the FAA that this is a safe thing to do. This is years of additional work at this point," Bezos is quoted as saying.

Amazon Prime currently costs $79 per year and offers customers two-day shipping on all orders. It's not clear how much extra Amazon Prime Air will cost.

Follow Jane McEntegart @JaneMcEntegart. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • lpedraja2002
    Wow this just put a smile on my face, I really wish for this to become a standard. I do question if they charge for the orange container that has your package inside because I doubt they'll be disposable.
    Reply
  • yermommy
    There are so many things that could go wrong with this. The first thing I can think of is that a hood rat will try and steal the drone for the sake of stealing. The next problem I can think of is how about if somebody shoots one of these out of the sky and steals the package? As much as I would love to see this implemented, there seems to be too many "what if?" scenarios.
    Reply
  • mforce2
    What if they collide with the ones making deliveries for NewEgg ?
    Reply
  • Fluffy Thedestroyer
    I'm sure the NSA won't use it to spy on people... :)
    Reply
  • BeenThere2
    Time to bring back the old slick shot..
    Reply
  • tomc100
    This doesn't have a chance in hell of working. Too many factors such as weather affecting packages and drone, or people wanting to steal an expensive drone or package. The only way this works is in very rural areas like the countryside where it's one residence per acre.
    Reply
  • coolitic
    I guarantee that if this gets used more, theres gonna be that guy who knocks it down with a bb gun.
    Reply
  • ta152h
    Jane, aren't you four months early on this story?

    If this really isn't a joke, and one of these flying monsters clips a pet of mine, I'm designing a Flak cannon and selling it as a XBone or PS4 upgrade. It's such an upgrade it doesn't even plug into the console, the console just gives you flight information, and away you go knocking down these godless insects. Not only that, you get prizes, sometimes undamaged, on each kill.

    It would make a nice profit, the gamer would get their money back over time, and have great fun. The consumer would figure out there's another way to get items in 30 minutes - there's an invention called a "store". Amazon would lose, but by going on the decadent path, they should.

    If you think that's an overreaction, just imagine what happens when one of these things malfunctions and comes down on an animal, tree, or human with some of the blades still twirling. Sooner or later everything malfunctions, and even though the odds of clipping something living are low, multiply it by the enormous amount of things Amazon sells, and will ship this way, and it's simply inevitable something is getting nailed by this monstrosity.

    Since Amazon is now using USPS, it's not like using these demons will lessen the amount of driving necessary, since they have to go to every house anyway.

    Also, what if birds follow these vile beast? It sure seems confident, and purposeful, and they might decide it's an alpha bird, of some sort. It's a matter of time before Amazon decides it should crow to announce your package, and then all the hens will find it irresistible.

    If I see one, I'm shooting it down. Of course, that's after it's delivered my package.
    Reply
  • clonazepam
    and its not even April 1st yet... we can't get drones up and running on a 2 dimensional plane, where they could carry a real load, so lets go straight to 3 dimensional with a 5 lb limit. There's a million 'what ifs' I dont want to list, unless Amazon pays me for the labor :-D
    Reply
  • joneb
    "Whats that honey?"
    "Its just a drone delivering a package next door dear."
    BOOOOOM!!!
    "BBC news flash as package delivery drones were used to deliver bombs across the UK killing or seriously injuring many people and damaging property."
    Reply