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Amazon invents drone copters, plans near-instant delivery service Print Email
Written by Jeremy Burns   
Thursday, 05 December 2013 10:45 AM America/New_York

Amazon-PrimeAir-flying-webAmazon is creating a buzz yet again, only this time the buzz is also literal. The online retail giant has invented a drone mini-helicopter specifically designed to carry and drop off packages to customers in a matter of minutes.

The octocopters—so called for their eight miniature rotary blades—will be programmed with the recipients address and use GPS data to autonomously deliver the package within 30 minutes of purchase. This service, which is currently being billed as Amazon Prime Air, will provide near-instant home delivery to many customers who live near one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers. No pricing information for this premium service has yet been revealed.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said that he hopes to launch the service in the next four to five years.

Beyond the logistical hurdles the company will need to figure out, the service’s feasibility would also be contingent upon approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In light of security concerns and considering the tightening of regulations on airspace usage in the wake of 9/11, the FAA is slated to roll out an initial set of regulations for drone aircraft by September 2015.

With an expanding physical blueprint in its growing network of fulfillment centers, Amazon’s near-instant air delivery system would have a wider range of potential delivery areas by the time Prime Air is ready to take off.

“I know this looks like science fiction—it's not," Bezos said Dec. 1 on 60 Minutes. "It will work and it will happen. It's going to be a lot of fun.”