Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently announced that his company plans to start offering 30-minute deliveries via drone-like “octocopters”. But when Bezos took to “60 Minutes” on Sunday to introduce the world to Amazon Prime Air, his idea prompted more questions than it provided answers.
So how close are we, really, to door-to-door drones becoming a reality? And how would they work?
Could drones really be delivering packages by 2015?
That’s what Bezos said is the best possible scenario.
Bezos said the octocopters will have a 10-mile radius. So, it’s likely that folks in big cities near Amazon distribution sites would be a lot more likely to qualify than those in more remote areas.
He says they’ll initially carry items up to five pounds, which is roughly 86% of all deliveries Amazon makes.
But for even that 10-mile range to work, Amazon better be onto something about battery life that the rest of us don’t know. Cummings said drones the size of the octocopters have a battery life of about 30 minutes, and the weight of their cargo could make that even shorter.
Amazon isn’t the only company at least toying with the idea of using unmanned aerial vehicles for commercial purposes. Domino’s posted video of the “DomiCopter” delivering two pizzas in the United Kingdom earlier this year.
In June, the Burrito Bomber, the creation of a couple of engineers from Yelp, demoed its ability to fly that tasty treat to your doorstep as well.
And in Australia, Zookal, a textbook company, is already using drones for deliveries.
We hope that’s all just the beginning. Using drones for beneficial civic or commercial purposes, instead of military actions, is a growing trend.
Medical supplies, wildlife monitoring, cargo, firefighting — it’s a pretty long list of things that drones can do.