Last night in an interview with Charlie Rose on CBS series 60 Minutes, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed Amazon’s secret research and development (R&D) project: new drone delivery service, Amazon Prime Air. While Amazon has started the regulation process with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the drones are not expected to be distributed until 2015 when they finish the experimental phase of R&D and pass FAA regulations.
“I know it can’t be before 2015, because that’s the earliest we could get the rules from the FAA. My guess is that’s, that’s probably a little optimistic. But could it be, you know, four, five years? I think so. It will work, and it will happen, and it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”
Currently during the beta phase, the drones can deliver packages weighing five pounds within a 30 minute distance to customers’ doorsteps. The drones are autonomous and no one is sitting in front of a computer monitoring and directing them.
“So you give 'em instructions of which GPS coordinates to go to, and they take off and they fly to those GPS coordinates.”
Bezos reported that this can account for 86 percent of its deliveries. Amazon has an estimated 225 million global customer base. Today on Cyber Monday, it is expected that 300 items a second will be ordered on Amazon.
Currently Amazon has Amazon Prime that is a service which charges a $79 yearly flat fee to receive two day shipping on all Amazon orders.
Amazon is a Seattle based company with fulfillment centers throughout the United States that feed into distribution centers. The company reported 96 fulfillment centers with the average building size of 1.2 million square feet (more than 20 football fields). The drone concept is to deliver packages and goods from the fulfillment centers to the customers via the “octocopters.” The drones are not as sophisticated as the ones used by the U.S. military. The cost of production and product specifications were not released in the interview.
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, has reinvented the company several times as the goal is to sell everything to everyone. This is his seventh generation of warehouse as Jeff cited 18 years ago he was driving the packages to the post office himself. He has an estimated net worth of $25 billion and takes pride in the development of efficient nontraditional approaches to completing tasks.
This year Amazon has produced its first television series Alpha House by Doonesbury creator Gary Trudeau that was selected by their customers from scripts by various creators. Amazon recently announced Sunday delivery with the U.S. Postal Service. Amazon Prime Air is expected to compete with major delivery competitors FedEx and UPS.
“Companies have short life spans Charlie. And Amazon will be disrupted one day…And you worry about that?… I don’t worry about it 'cause I know it’s inevitable. Companies come and go. And the companies that are, you know, the shiniest and most important of any era, you wait a few decades and they’re gone.
Check out the 56 second video to see drone delivery.
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