Amazon Uses ’60 Minutes’ To Unveil Automated Delivery Drones

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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  1. Sarah Gotheridge says:

    This sounds kind of weird right now, because the idea is new to me. But, I would not be surprised if this really does come to fruition soon. Who will handle any “crash reports”? The police? I like the idea of these drones being, “green”.

  2. Jesse says:

    Amazon, we are still waiting! :)
    Heard that they were testing in Canada right now though. Hopefully they will be able to test in the US as well. I wonder what they are waiting for, and why only Canada?

  3. Do not violate my air space, will be taken down.

  4. clark kent says:

    Things affecting drone deliveries:
    wind- rain- ice-snow- target practice- traffic control- crash litigation- does the FAA need to get involved.
    I do not see this as a viable solution for Amazon. Theory is good but in IMHO the practice is flawed.

  5. snapchat app says:

    They are waiting for a change in regulations in the US though as it is illegal at the moment to fly these drones. The reason being that they could fall on someone’s head or crash on a helicopter or plane. With these drones Amazon will be able to deliver a product 30 mns after ordering it online!

  6. johntshea says:

    These things would be great fun in high-rise cities. You could get your stuff flown to your office or apartment a thousand feet up, assuming you could open the window. Though the complete ‘FIFTY SHADES OF GREY’ trilogy falling a thousand feet would make an even bigger impression someone’s head than it did on publishing…

  7. Not Sure says:

    This, too, shall pass.

    Just do a back of the envelope calculation on the energy required to deliver a 1 lb. package via a diesel truck full of 1000 other 1 lb. packages vs. the energy to have one of these drones deliver that single package. Bear in mind the added cost of loosing at least one of these drones a day failed signal, failed component and/or theft. Also the very limited range and payloads these things have and the added liability of accidents caused by them. Bezos is losing it. A second year physics student can figure out this is a bad idea.

    Oh, and sometimes the “great” idea is knowing when a concept is a bad idea.

  8. rgold02 says:

    This sounds kind of weird right now, because the idea is new to me. But, I would not be surprised if this really does come to fruition soon. Who will handle any “crash reports”? The police? I like the idea of these drones being, “green”.

  9. You all are acting as if he said that this will be available next month or year. Alot has changed in technology, even from 5 years ago. So he may be very well on his way to greatness. There
    will always be a time when the masses will say something can’t be done, and then it gets done.

  10. Jim says:

    Won’t work! Too many interferences! The birds are complaining!

    • johntshea says:

      Particularly homing pigeons, who could all be made redundant! Automation strikes again. This is definitely for the birds…

  11. Joseph Benedetto says:

    While this new spin on a delivery system sounds cool and futuristic, there are huge dangers here. Besides the potential of falling out of the sky, these delivery drones would most certainly be targets for radio-control pilots who would think it’s fun to high jack the drone and it’s cargo. Imagine a “dogfight” between an experienced RC pilot and an Amazon drone. Further, who’s to say that terrorists could not construct an Amazon lookalike drone and load it with explosives. As an RC pilot myself, I can say with a certain authority that this is all possible and the FAA as well as the AMA should absolutely lobby against this delivery system. It’s Orwellian as well as extremely dangerous!

  12. katror iks says:

    will be usefull metod only i mean only in very optimal perfect weather condition

  13. johntshea says:

    Skyjacking could be a problem. I wonder how many will return to base.

  14. QuadcopterHQ says:

    Really wild. Lots of legal and practical issues, but this could revolutionize delivery systems.

    Its amazing how far quadcopter/multirotor technology has come. You can get a very capable $40 quadcopter now, or a $1,200 with streaming HD video and GPS capabilities. Check out the best quadcopter models here: http://quadcopterhq.com/best-quadcopters/

  15. Dmknyc says:

    He looks like an evil creepy warlord from one of those futuristic movies

  16. Marque says:

    And where are they going to drop your little under 5lb parcels? Plus with the FAA not even allowing people to use UAVs without a full pilots license do you really think they’ll let Amazon send out hundreds of the things all by themselves? Sure they might only weight 10lbs with cargo but 10lbs fall on somebody’s head can still do significant damage, how much will the insurance be? Its a nice Jesonian idea but not going to happen any time soon.

  17. Stefan says:

    Very cool! Lots of legal questions outstanding – I’m sure FAA will want a bulletproof system. But this could potentially revolutionize delivery systems – extremely low cost, yet rapid, final mile delivery. Whether consumers will want it or be OK with delivery via octocopters/quadcopters/drones will remain to be seen, but lots of promise.

    Until this is up and running, you can get a consumer level ready to fly quadcopter, very similar to what Amazon will be using but on a much smaller scale, for anywhere from $40 – $1200! They’re great fun as toys for kids, recreational devices for hobbyists, and some models have the potential to shoot high quality pictures and videos. Check out the best quadcopter models here: http://bit.ly/1beclDj

  18. johntshea says:

    Deliveries in Afghanistan and Pakistan might give rise to unfortunate misunderstandings…

  19. johntshea says:

    And will they drop gifts down chimneys on Christmas Eve?

  20. Tavin P. says:

    But would they deliver to Puerto Rico? :)

  21. johntshea says:

    No doubt Apple and bookstores and other competitors will have invested in Stinger missiles and anti-aircraft guns by then. The retail wars heat up!

  22. cherrybop says:

    That’s super awesome. Hope they come armed with submachine gun turrets in order to deal with competitor drones that are sure to follow. No other country has the testicular fortitude to be futuristic like America!

  23. harleyb says:

    Awesome

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