Amazon reveals plans to deliver packages using autonomous drones

By on December 1, 2013, 9:35 PM

Amazon was featured in a segment on CBS News' magazine program 60 Minutes on Sunday evening. Not wanting to miss a prime (no pun intended) advertising opportunity, CEO Jeff Bezos showed off a concept the company is working on known as Amazon Prime Air.

The futuristic service will employ octocopter “drones” to deliver packages up to five pounds in weight right to your doorstep. Each drone will be able to deliver a shipment within 10 miles of one of Amazon’s 96 fulfillment center which could have a huge impact in densely populated urban areas.

The company promises to deliver said packages within half an hour, all without the aid of a physical courier. The autonomous vehicles will fly to and from target addresses using pre-set GPS coordinates. If successful, it could allow Amazon to save money on their workforce and make the company even more environmentally friendly.

It’s a big undertaking and as you might expect, we won’t be seeing a fleet of Amazon drones take to the sky anytime soon. Bezos noted there is a lot of technical stuff to work out first in terms of redundancy, reliability and safety. After all, you don’t want a drone landing on someone’s head while they are walking around their neighborhood, he said.

Bezos didn’t give an exact timeline but suggested we could drones take flight within the next three to five years. That should give the company plenty of time to work with the FAA to make Amazon Prime Air a reality.




User Comments: 38

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Guest said:

Terrible idea.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

This sounds awesome if it works!

Acespaces Acespaces said:

Cool innovative idea but getting it into %100 working condition with almost no flaws will be struggle. I'm sure if they actually go through with this idea we'll hear hundreds of wild Amazon Prime Air stories where the octocopter gets grabbed and stolen, shot or thrown at, birds messing with it, weather affecting it, and etc.

Guest said:

Soon, this concept would be adopted by US military, so they just use drones to deliver a package of bomb to your doorstep

davislane1 davislane1 said:

Amazon attaches a package to a drone, drone heads to destination. Enterprising criminal shoots drone, collects package. Customer never receives purchase and Amazon takes a loss.

Now, I'll concede that there are probably only one or two thugs in the entire country who could put a bullet on a target, let alone a moving target in the wind...But it could still happen.

Now, for the more practical thief, I present the Amazon Prime Drone Snatcher: [link]

1 person liked this | dennis777 dennis777 said:

Attach anti-personel guns on drones. amazons takes over the world!!!!

Amazon attaches a package to a drone, drone heads to destination. Enterprising criminal shoots drone, collects package. Customer never receives purchase and Amazon takes a loss.

Now, I'll concede that there are probably only one or two thugs in the entire country who could put a bullet on a target, let alone a moving target in the wind...But it could still happen.

Now, for the more practical thief, I present the Amazon Prime Drone Snatcher: [link]

Guest said:

Is it how they damaged their shipment of PS4's? Or it's a measure to prevent it from happening again?

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm gonna purchase a weight bench and insist it be delivered this way. :P

VitalyT VitalyT said:

The illegal Chinese will appreciate the idea, they now can get to US just like in movie Predators. Some splats along the way - who cares, you can't make an amlet...

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Now this makes Amazon Prime worth getting.

ikesmasher said:

Is it how they damaged their shipment of PS4's? Or it's a measure to prevent it from happening again?

Im pretty sure gaming consoles weigh a little bit more than 5 pounds.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

Good luck ordering fragile stuff from Amazon now... If it didn't fall in your backyard, must be on the neighbour's roof then

There, flies my delivery! Ops, right into the high-voltage lines, it ain't so pretty no more...

VitalyT VitalyT said:

Texas rangers will love it also, to shoot down a few unexpected flying gifts for the family - niiiice.

Guest said:

This really doesn't seem feasible and seems like a way for Amazon to get some buzz before for the Holiday Season. How well does this work when weather plays a part? Is this really cheaper than standard delivery methods? (Costs to maintain drones and the insurance rates). Oops, drone injured an endangered species, which caused the package to deploy, which dropped on customers skull, meanwhile the drone now out of control crashed into a FedEx delivery truck, kicking off a major lawsuit.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

I think a lot of us fail to realize how far we have come in the last 20 years, this idea is no longer out of reach because the tech is easily available to all. This can work and would be a cool idea to reduce costs and just be a fun thing in general. Heck I would order something just to see that thing deliver it.

To the people saying that someone is just going to "Shoot them down to steal the package"...Ok yea we may have some people attempt that, it would not surprise me, but this is probably going to be more wide spread in cities so shooting a gun in a major city would not be a smart thing to do and is technically illegal. If they did, im sure they have some sort of fail safe like cameras, GPS location, etc that would let them know exactly what happened and capture the culprit in action stealing the item.

Probably putting to much thought into this, but I think it would be a fun gimmick if nothing else.

Guest said:

Ut Oh Judgement day just got a like bit close, this is like a mini HK outta Terminator

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

I hope they aren't trying to run delivery postal services out of business

MilwaukeeMike said:

I don't think theft would be an issue. I'd bet 90% of stuff in amazon boxes are worth much to the random person. Steal a box, get the Twilight Trilogy or a book on sewing. Not really worth the penalty for stealing.

We also shouldn't assume this is a bad idea because of all the obvious stuff they have to work around, like weather, wind, distance, birds, awnings, kids etc. They'll figure it out or they won't be sending drones out. People are scared of new tech, Amazon won't want to risk the PR fallout of a bunch of drones crashing around a city or losing people's stuff.

Guest said:

This truly is a terrible idea. As in the worst Amazon could have thought of. This will reduce jobs once again, while unemployment rises as result of this. Way to go multi-billion dollar industries for not seeing that the way of the future is making the problems at present worse.

1 person liked this | Scshadow said:

Shooting a package out of the air? Yeah sure. Enjoy collecting the remains of whatever was supposed to be delivered. Small minds think this is too futuristic. Small minds think this isn't feasible. Something like this is going to eventually be made. The first people to make it happen will be called revolutionary. So while the small minds sit on their hands and say it won't work, amazon will have their R&D department problem solving and innovating. Its better then giving up before you even have a project to give up on.

Guest said:

Thank you Amazon for this comedic interlude. I enjoyed a good laugh.

Chuck Cortes Chuck Cortes said:

Dumb idea plain and simple. Weather, ****** in the neighborhood trying to shoot them down, packages falling from drones, drones breaking midair, going to the wrong address due to error in coordinates, etc.

Really bad idea.

Scshadow said:

Dumb idea plain and simple. Weather, ****** in the neighborhood trying to shoot them down, packages falling from drones, drones breaking midair, going to the wrong address due to error in coordinates, etc.

Really bad idea.

Problems, meet problem solving. Problem solving, meet problems. Now you two go have some fun together.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

going to the wrong address due to error in coordinates
Not if the drone delivers to GPS coordinates of a cellphone location. Even if you are moving the drone could always find you. Once delivered the GPS tracking code could be turned off or changed.

There are always options to avoid these errors. Mandatory GPS location for delivery in conjunction with the address could always help. Specifying altitude may also be a requirement for delivery.

In a city landscape each building would need to share a single drop off location. I could only imagine the roof would be used as the drop off location. A city landscape flying from building top to building top would also put the drone above the radar so to speak. Initially the local juveniles who would shoot down anything that flies for a notch on their belt, would be removed from the equation.

I don't see this used for delivering to a personal address anytime soon. I do see the system delivering to a shared drop off point, that is closely monitored 24/7. Once established the service may branch off to personal deliveries.

Fbarnett Fbarnett said:

UPS and FED Ex will not let this happen they will shoot these things out of the sky to keep the business

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

UPS and FED Ex will not let this happen they will shoot these things out of the sky to keep the business
Just like the banks are attempting to do with Bitcoins. I see failure in their future, if they don't evolve.

1 person liked this | tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

So now a sky full of mini AFO (Amazon Flying Objects). LOL

Raoul Duke Raoul Duke said:

Or is this the new way for cross-border drug delivery?

Guest said:

Horrible idea, I can see the unemployment rate rising! I hope this project fails!

Guest said:

NSA gives the order to attach cameras to all drones. Goodbye further privacy.

Guest said:

Capture them on your smartphone, blur the pics and post 'em online claiming you've just spotted aU FO. Lol.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Capture them on your smartphone, blur the pics and post 'em online claiming you've just spotted aU FO. Lol.
No need in that, there are millions of birds in flight just waiting for their picture to be taken.

verneronomous verneronomous said:

This could be good and bad, can you imagine all the jobs that would be lost but the good side of it is that if I need a part for my business I can get it in thirty min. Hmm

Guest said:

This truly is a terrible idea. As in the worst Amazon could have thought of. This will reduce jobs once again, while unemployment rises as result of this. Way to go multi-billion dollar industries for not seeing that the way of the future is making the problems at present worse.

OMG, you are drinking the CoolAid, aren't you. The libs have you convinced that employment is a static variable. Increase efficiency, jobs go down. Brilliant! Using your logic, we should get rid of backhoes and bulldozers, and go back to the pick and shovel--THINK OF ALL THE JOBS WE COULD CREATE!! Just what we need to get back to being a strong, industrial country--more truck drivers and package loaders. Obama is looking for economic strategists such as yourself.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

OMG, you are drinking the CoolAid, aren't you. The libs have you convinced that employment is a static variable. Increase efficiency, jobs go down. Brilliant! Using your logic, we should get rid of backhoes and bulldozers, and go back to the pick and shovel--THINK OF ALL THE JOBS WE COULD CREATE!! Just what we need to get back to being a strong, industrial country--more truck drivers and package loaders. Obama is looking for economic strategists such as yourself.
Yes and the problem is the equipment used to "theoretically" make this world a better place, doesn't foot the bill for cost of living for the workers it replaced. If that were the case, people would no longer need jobs.

This world will never be a better place until the cost of living is extinguished. I can promise you the guy at the top will never willingly let that happen. We will continue to be slaves of the system, the very same way as the equipment we invent along the way.

Guest said:

This truly is a terrible idea. As in the worst Amazon could have thought of. This will reduce jobs once again, while unemployment rises as result of this. Way to go multi-billion dollar industries for not seeing that the way of the future is making the problems at present worse.

If you look back at history, the greatest advancements civilizations have gone through happened when more of the general population was freed from doing manual jobs.

For the longest time it was slaves (though American/Spanish slavery was actually counter productive), then machines, and hopefully soon robots.

If robots did all of our manual labour, we'd get far more closer to the full potential of our population.

OMG, you are drinking the CoolAid, aren't you. The libs have you convinced that employment is a static variable. Increase efficiency, jobs go down. Brilliant! Using your logic, we should get rid of backhoes and bulldozers, and go back to the pick and shovel--THINK OF ALL THE JOBS WE COULD CREATE!! Just what we need to get back to being a strong, industrial country--more truck drivers and package loaders. Obama is looking for economic strategists such as yourself.

not everyone ascribes to one of the two political ideologies. So-called Representational Democracy is a sham brainwashed into our heads as children anyway.

Guest said:

not everyone ascribes to one of the two political ideologies. So-called Representational Democracy is a sham brainwashed into our heads as children anyway.

I'm still trying to figure out if you are agreeing with me, or disagreeing. Did I say something about Representational Democracy??

Guest said:

Yes and the problem is the equipment used to "theoretically" make this world a better place, doesn't foot the bill for cost of living for the workers it replaced. If that were the case, people would no longer need jobs.

This world will never be a better place until the cost of living is extinguished. I can promise you the guy at the top will never willingly let that happen. We will continue to be slaves of the system, the very same way as the equipment we invent along the way.

I apologize--I should have said "you are SMOKING the CoolAid"! 'Nuff said.

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