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Amazon Prime Air: Unmanned drones to ship packages in 30 minutes or less

Published Dec 2nd, 2013 8:30AM EST
Amazon Prime Air Shipping

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Amazon on Sunday unveiled a bold new shipping initiative during CBS‘s popular TV show “60 Minutes:” Amazon Prime Air, which aims to ship packages to your door via air in 30 minutes or less from the time you place the order. Interestingly, these are completely autonomous drones, that don’t require pilots watching over them, as some of the other drones out there do. Instead, they rely solely on the preprogrammed GPS coordinates to ship packages and return to base. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos said during the interview with Charlie Rose that the drones will be able to carry up to 5 pounds in plastic boxes, which covers over 86% of the products sold by the giant retailer.

The drone is an octa-copter that relies solely on electric power to run and can travel around 10 miles to reach its destination. Furthermore, Bezos said that it can still operate in case one of the eight engines fails, and added that security is very important for the company, as these flying devices will only land at their specified destination.

Amazon Prime Air will not be available to buyers immediately, as Bezos expects it to receive FAA approval at some point in 2015 at the earliest. Pricing details have not been specified for the Amazon Prime Air service yet.

On a different note, Bezos dodged a question during the interview regarding a rumored future Amazon product, the set-top box it’s said to launch in the coming months. As for the other rumored new Amazon products, the first Amazon smartphones, they were not mentioned during the interview.

In addition to the test flight of an Amazon drone in the video above, here are more video snippets from CBS’s “60 Minutes” show that aired the news about Amazon’s new approach to fast package delivery.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.