Amazon Unveils Half-Hour Delivery By Drone Called ‘Prime Air’

12/2/13 10:35AM EST

Amazon Unveils Half Hour Delivery By Drone Called Prime Air Amazon Unveils Half Hour Delivery By Drone Called Prime Air

Amazon

Half-hour delivery isn’t just for pizza anymore. Amazon customers may soon be able to have items in their hands within 30 minutes of ordering. Prime Air, which was officially announced Sunday on the television show “60 Minutes,” will use unmanned aerial drones to deliver items as soon as they are bought.

The online retail giant posted a video of a recent test flight to show how its new delivery option would work. Someone clicks “Prime Air 30 Minute Delivery” online. Then at a nearby warehouse with an “amazon fulfillment” sign, a worker places the sold item into a sturdy-looking container and onto a conveyor belt. A drone latches onto the container and flies away, later gently placing the item on the buyer’s stoop.

“It looks like science fiction, but it’s real,” Amazon says.

Practicality and Implementation

Amazon hopes to have the program up and running by 2015, but it all depends on safety regulations. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will first need to set forth a new set of rules for unmanned aerial vehicles. Prime Air will be ready to start as soon as FAA regulations are in place.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says almost all Amazon orders will be eligible for the new shipping option. The drones will be able to deliver packages weighing up to five pounds, which account for about 86 percent of the website’s orders.

And the option will be available nationwide. “One day, Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today,” the Amazon website says.

Although the plan is several years away from becoming a reality, it’s still pretty cool to think about.