Drones may soon be landing on your doorstep, if Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has anything to say about it.
Bezos revealed Sunday night during an interview with 60 Minutes that the service, known as Amazon Prime Air, could be ready for customers in four to five years. “I know this looks like science fiction,” Bezos told CBS’ Charlie Rose. “It’s not.”
In a demo video shown by Bezos and later posted to Amazon’s YouTube channel, a small unmanned aerial vehicle is shown carrying a delivery from an Amazon distribution center to a customer’s front door.
Bezos said the small, environmentally-friendly “octocopter” drones would be able to deliver objects up to five lbs. within a 10-mile radius of any Amazon distribution center in 30 minutes or less. But while the company hopes to make the technology available by the time the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) works out the rules for commercial drone use, Amazon could face criticism and anxieties from customers worried about safety.
“The hard part here is putting in all the redundancy, all the reliability, all the systems you need to say, ‘Look, this thing can’t land on somebody’s head while they’re walking around their neighborhood,’” Bezos said of the motors in the protoype drone that prevents it from crashing.
The FAA is expected to unveil its plan for allowing drones to fly across U.S. airspace in 2015. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said last month during a news conference that after the regulations are unveiled, as many as 7,500 small unmanned aerial vehicles could be flying throughout the country’s skies.