Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos appeared on CBS' 60 Minutes this evening to reveal the company's ambitious autonomous drone delivery scheme—even though the tech probably won't reach your doorstep for at least “four or five years.”
This is still fairly far-off stuff. For one thing, while ordinary citizens can fly small model-size drones for fun, below 400 feet (as Neal Ungerleider and I did a few months ago in Central Park), the FAA hasn't quite sanctioned the use of these kinds of drones for commercial purposes yet—though it plans to have new regulations in place by 2015. "The hardest challenge of making this happen is going to be demonstrating to the standards of the FAA that is a safe thing to do," Bezos told 60 Minutes' Charlie Rose.
The Amazon Prime drone segment on 60 Minutes also follows a growing list of sometimes pie-in-the-sky drone-powered delivery stunts—such as drone-powered textbook delivery in Australia, a taco copter possibly satisfying your future cravings for Doritos Locos, and quadrocopter dry-cleaning delivery in Philadelphia. On the other end of the spectrum are hopes for this drone-driven defibrillator in Europe.
Meanwhile, Bezos seems pretty confident his drone delivery dreams will someday come true. "It will work, and it will happen, and it's going to be a lot of fun," he said.