Amazon’s Ultimate Prime: Jeff “Jetson” Bezos’ Drone Scheme

Delivery chief wants to fly your purchases to you 30 minutes after you click "buy"

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Special Delivery: the shopping drone now under development by Amazon.

For those of us who grew up in the 1950s, the human jetpack was always just beyond the horizon. Fast-forward 60 years, and now it’s a fleet of Amazon drones that’s going to deliver the goods 30 minutes after you click on the “buy” button.

“It will work, and it will happen,” Bezos told CBS’s 60 Minutes Sunday night. “And it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

It’s a neat idea, and generating all sorts of octocopter—that’s the kind of aircraft Amazon plans on using—buzz on the Internet. But it’s also a long way from happening.

It’s not the technology that’s so challenging. After all, those futuristic human jetpacks exist. Even James Bond used one. It’s just that they’re not very practical.

Along the same lines, Bezos’ challenge isn’t to get drones to fly down your driveway and deliver. Rather it’s the creation of infrastructure that will let such drones perform as advertised in U.S. airspace that is the tough nut to crack.

He told 60 Minutes’ Charlie Rose that he can see such “Prime Air” drones carrying Amazon boxes weighing up to five pounds in as little as four years, ferrying them within 10 miles of Amazon’s growing network of fulfillment centers (now nearing 100).

Unfortunately, he also has to wait for the Federal Aviation Administration to develop a plan that would let the skies be filled with such drones. Bezos acknowledges drone delivery will be challenging, but he says he’s an optimist. But if patience isn’t one of his virtues, it eventually will be if his latest dream is ever going to take flight.

MORE: Jeff Bezos, 1999 TIME Person of the Year

8 comments
Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

A marketing genius. Look at all the free advertising for Amazon.

grape_crush
grape_crush

How and why does this make Time's Politics section?

MelvinaRoselyn
MelvinaRoselyn

I bet we will have to pay a yearly fee or something

john_rambo
john_rambo

I love this guy and this concept...but whats to prevent some wag from shooting down the helicopter to steal the package? Unless defensive air to ground missiles are part of the drone.

RicardoRivera
RicardoRivera

It sounds good but this will never be a reality. Especially nationwide or having a fleet of drones delivering packages. Funny how we are cool with using this device to make our lives easier and make a billionaire even richer while his workers get crap pay but if we even thought of using this technology to help stop crime or prevent it here nationally people will rise up with the attack on freedom chants. Government didn’t make this technology legal so we can have a bunch of hacked drones flying right to your door step. I guess it’s time to regulate this industry if not this will open a can of worms none of us want to see. His 2015 date is only possible if he is allowed to do this in another country or gets permission from a college campus or Apples campus but nationwide no way!

commentonitall
commentonitall

These things will be shot down and the goods stolen, it's the most impractical thing I have ever heard of.  Windy days and power lines, wont work in inclement weather, invasion of privacy concerns, malfunctioning units and injuries or death and law suits, distracting drivers, people looking to make a quick buck and file personal injury suits.  The hurdles are too many.  Thieves will be all over these things like bee's and honey.

bobcn
bobcn

@john_rambo

I wonder if the future 'associates' who will be manning the Phalanx anti-aircraft guns mounted on top of Walmart stores will be paid a living wage.