Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed Sunday that his company is looking to the future with plans to use “octocopter” mini-drones to fly small packages to consumers in just 30 minutes.
The US retail giant’s ambitious project still requires additional safety testing and federal approval, but Bezos estimated that Amazon “Prime Air” would be up and running within four to five years.
A demo video posted on the company’s website showed the tiny robotic devices picking up packages in small yellow buckets from Amazon’s fulfillment centers and then whizzing through the air to deliver the items to customers just 30 minutes after they made their purchase on Amazon.com.
“I know this looks like science fiction. It’s not,” Bezos told CBS television’s “60 Minutes” program.
“We can do half-hour delivery… and we can carry objects, we think, up to five pounds (2.3 kilograms), which covers 86 percent of the items that we deliver.”
The mini-drones are powered by electric motors and could cover areas within a 10-mile (16-km) radius of fulfillment centers, thus covering a significant portion of the population in urban areas.
They operate autonomously and drop the items at the target locations thanks to GPS coordinates transmitted to them. ”It’s very green, it’s better than driving trucks around,” said Bezos.