AMAZON is preparing to make next-day delivery obsolete by using unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, in an audacious plan to introduce 30-minute home delivery.
The online retailer hopes to revolutionise online shopping by delivering directly from its warehouses to customers’ homes using autonomous drones that can carry small packages weighing up to five pounds (2.3kg).
It may sound far-fetched but Amazon boss Jeff Bezos said yesterday that his drone delivery service is not science fiction. But he warned it would take a number of years to perfect the service.
“I don’t want anybody to think this is just around the corner. This is years of additional work from this point,” he said.
Bezos said the main challenge the service will face is regulatory approval for the drones to fly across the country unmanned and unmonitored by a pilot.
Current UK rules from the Civil Aviation Authority on commercial unmanned aerial vehicles require drones to always remain within sight of a human operator.
But Bezos remained undeterred by the challenges: “Could it be four, five years [away]? I think so. It will work, and it will happen, and it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”
Amazon said its Prime Air drone deliveries could take off as early as 2015 in the US.