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.