We almost certainly won't have hoverboards or flying DeLoreans in 2015, but Amazon is aiming to give us the next best thing: crazy-fast package delivery via flying drones. Yes, people, welcome to the future. Though there are obvious hurdles to overcome before these autonomous delivery robots become a reality, Amazon hopes that one day, "Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today."
Eccentric Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced the Prime Air plans on the December 1st episode of 60 Minutes. Amazon is planning on having a fleet of "octocopters" at distribution centers with delivery to nearby addresses in half an hour or less, determined and delivered by GPS coordinates. It's a dramatic and ambitious project to say the least.
Naturally there are some limitations. Current drones have a range of ten miles and a carry limit of five pounds (86% of Amazon's deliveries), and it looks like there are dimensional limits as well. But the biggest hurdle will be the Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates all civil and commercial air transportation in the US. According to Bezos, the safety and regulation backbone necessary to enable Amazon to legally operate a fleet of drones might be in place as early as 2015, though 4-5 years is more likely. "This is years of additional work," says Bezos.
Check out the full 60 Minutes segment with Charlie Rose at the source link below - it's well worth the time.