Amazon Uses '60 Minutes' Unveil Automated

Flying robots could deliver Amazon orders in four to five years, CEO Bezos estimates

In the future, Amazon customers may no longer need to rely on the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx or UPS to deliver their packages to their doorsteps.

In an eyebrow-raising maneuver that put the future on display while audiences were waiting for “The Amazing Race” and “The Good Wife,” the online-retailing giant seized the chance offered by a Charlie Rose-led segment on “60 Minutes” to unveil an effort it is making to use automated drones to deliver the millions of goods its customers order.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, told Rose on the CBS program that the drones could carry up to five pounds of goods in a ten-mile radius from one of the company’s fulfillment centers. He estimated the fascinating gadgets, which would use GPS coordinates to find a specific location, would likely not appear for four to five years, calling an estimate before 2015 overly optimistic. The drones would be “very green,” he told Rose, since they would not burn fuel like delivery trucks.

Whittling down the costs of delivery is of primary interest to the Seattle company, which for years has eked out razor-thin profit margins because it continues to sink a good portion of its incoming cash into facilitating faster distribution of the thousands of products it sells to its customer base.

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