Just when will gift-bearing octocopter drones show up on your doorstep? Could be within 4-5 years, according to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Last night, in an interview with 60 Minutes' Charlie Rose, Bezos unveiled a plan to get that Adventures of Sherlock Holmes DVD box set you impulse-shopped last night straight from the warehouse to your hands, all courtesy of our new postal overlords. "These are effectively drones," said Bezos, "but there's no reason they can't be used as delivery vehicles."
The real takeaway, though, isn't just the mode of transport, it's also the timescale: Forget same-day delivery. For objects 5lbs or less (which is about 86% of all the merchandise Amazon ships), Bezos says that he expects to use the drones to offer a half-hour delivery service. Yep, 30 minutes or less, just like a pizza.
Of course, it may be some years yet before the octocopter postal service is a reality. In part, because Bezos estimates that it would take until at least 2015 to hammer out rules with the FAA, but there's also the system to build: "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'... Could it be 4, 5 years? I think so. It will work and it will happen, and it's going to be a lot of fun."
So what do you think? Just how much would delivery drones change the way you shop? Do you agree that a 4-5 year timeline sounds doable? And what other kinds of uses can you see for our new helper-drones in the future? Tell us in the comments now.