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2 Dec, 2013 08:17

Amazon plans drone delivery to US customers

Amazon plans drone delivery to US customers

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has announced his company plans to use ‘octocopter’ mini-drones to deliver goods for US customers – in just 30 minutes.

The ‘Prime Air’ system is set to start running in four or five years. It requires additional safety testing and federal approval.

"I know this looks like science fiction. It's not," Bezos told CBS television's 60 Minutes program.

The technology is “very green,” he indicated. “It’s better than driving trucks around.”

The drones are set to be able to deliver packages that weigh up to 5lbs (2.3kg), which represents roughly 86 percent of packages that Amazon delivers, Bezos told, as quoted by Reuters.

The drones will be powered by electric motors, and are set to cover an area of 16km in radius. Their operations will be carried out autonomously, with GPS transmitted to the devices.

Amazon said the octocopters would be "ready to enter commercial operations as soon as the necessary regulations are in place." The Federal Aviation is currently developing rules for unmanned vehicles.

The company in fact projected a more optimistic timeline than Bezos himself for the project to be activated, saying drones could commence deliveries as early as 2015.

The Amazon CEO’s statement comes about a month after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed a detailed scheme for drones to roam across American skies within the next two years.  

The plan set September 2015 as a deadline for integrating UAVs into US airspace, and six possible drone test sites will be selected out of 26 proposed ones by the end of 2013.