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REPUBLISHED FROM TIME
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed an experimental drone-based delivery service on Sunday, in an ambitious move by the online retailer to capitalize on a technology still being used sparsely by American businesses. Bezos said the service, dubbed Amazon Prime Air, could be ready for customer use in “four or five years.”
“I know this looks like science fiction, it’s not,” Bezos said on 60 Minutes, adding that “this is early, this is still years away.”
Bezos said the drone could carry objects of up to 5 lb. (2.27 kg) within a 10-mile (16 km) radius of an Amazon distribution center. Given that Amazon has been steadily building distribution centers in an increasing number of urban areas, the service would theoretically cover a significant number of customers.
The craft are autonomous, Bezos said — an Amazon employee would enter a delivery recipient’s location and away the aircraft would fly.
“The hard part here is putting in all the redundancy,” Bezos said. “All the reliability to say this can’t land on somebody’s head.”
Amazon’s drone delivery service will also have to comply with the Federal Aviation Administration’s new airspace rules for unmanned aircraft, which the agency is planning to have in place by 2015.