Amazon developing drone delivery fleet

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said in an interview broadcast late Sunday that the retail giant is developing small drones called “octocopters” for deliveries.

“I know this looks like science fiction. It’s not,” he told Charlie Rose on “60 Minutes.”

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Bezos said the concept is still “years away.” But he envisions half-hour deliveries of objects up to five pounds, “which covers 86 percent of the items that we deliver.”

“These generations of vehicles, it could be a 10-mile radius from a fulfillment center,” Bezos said. “So, in urban areas, you could actually cover very significant portions of the population. And so, it won’t work for everything; you know, we’re not gonna deliver kayaks or table saws this way. These are electric motors, so this is all electric; it’s very green, it’s better than driving trucks around.”

Bezos said the drones would be unpiloted, adding that “you give 'em instructions of which GPS coordinates to go to, and they take off and they fly to those GPS coordinates.”

“The hard part here is putting in all the redundancy, all the reliability, all the systems you need to say, ‘Look, this thing can’t land on somebody’s head while they’re walking around their neighborhood,’ " he said

Bezos said there’s still a lot of work to be done on the project, adding 2015 would be the earliest the company could get approval to fly the drones from the Federal Aviation Administration.