Amazon: In 4-5 Years, We Will Start Delivering iPhones & iPads Using Robotic Drones

Amazon Prime delivery is pretty fast. As long as you pony up $99 every year, you can have pretty much anything shipped to you overnight — even iPhones and iPads — for just $3.99.

But what’s after Prime? According to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on a 60 Minutes interview last night, it’s PrimeAir, a new service in which Amazon will deliver your goods to you via drones within half-an-hour.

Claiming that the project has already advanced pretty far in the R&D stage, Bezos says that PrimeAir’s armada of drones could do quick and light deliveries within a 10-mile radius of an Amazon Shipment Center. Kayaks, Bezos says, are out… but iPhones and iPads, which weigh under a pound each, would certainly be in.

The benefits of drones, besides being cool? Quicker than trucks, and more green-friendly as well, since they don’t gulp down gasoline: instead, they’re entirely electric. They’d also be efficient and deliver to you anywhere, since they could simply track your GPS position.

Even though Amazon has been working on drone delivery for a fair time, Bezos cautions that PrimeAir won’t debut until at least 2015, and even that’s unlikely. In fact, Bezos says that once you account for FAA approval, PrimeAir is probably four or five years out, and safety is a big concern: “This thing can’t land on someone’s head,” says Bezos.

Can you imagine ordering a new iPad and having a robot deliver it to you 30 minutes later? Welcome to the 21st Century to come, my friends.

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  • Adrayven

    If thats not a 15 minute attention grab, I don’t know what is..

    FAA wouldn’t allow it, far to much traffic to worry about stray collations, especially near Airports. Hardly practical.. nothing would have a very good range. what a joke.. April fools is still months away.. They should have held off on this article till then.. at least it would have made sense..

  • jeffythequick

    Naysayers have always said that things could not be done, but consider this:

    The FAA will have drone rules in place by 2015 (no-fly zones near airports, flying 100 feet above existing roadsetc.)
    There are new batteries in development that will have quick charging, like capacitors, light weight, and long life. The key is the quick charge, where one can charge up in 30-60 seconds. Businesses can lease out the tops of their buildings for charging stations.
    The mailbox will be a thing of the past.
    Computers will fly these things, not people.

    My prediction will be, in 10 years, drone usage will be considered for carrying people short distances…

    And the naysayers will still be stuck talking about how the “automobile” won’t catch on, because all of the roads were built for horses. When you go to the well to get your pail of water, let me know if I need to come to help you out.

    Let a free people solve problems, and the organized confusion will make everyone’s lives better.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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