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That drone outside your window might soon bear gifts.
In an appearance on 60 Minutes Sunday night, Amazon CEO (and Washington Post owner) Jeff Bezos announced a new project: Prime Air. Within three to four years, pending technology and systems development and the status of FAA drone regulations, he envisions a fleet of drones that "will pick up packages in small yellow buckets at Amazon's fulfillment centers and fly through the air to deliver items to customers" within an hour of their purchase.
From USA Today:
[T]he FAA currently limits the use of drones in the U.S. to hobbyists, meaning the devices cannot be used in return for payment. The regulator said recently that it plans to have regulations governing commercial use in place by 2015.If drone delivery takes off, it could be a threat to FedEx and UPS, which Amazon uses for a lot of its deliveries now. Indeed, FedEx founder Fred Smith told Wired magazine in 2009 that the company wanted to switch their fleet to drones as soon as possible but that it had to wait for the FAA to regulate such activity.The Bezos interview, with Charlie Rose, came just before the most important online shopping day of the year, Cyber Monday. This is a crucial period for Amazon, but this year the world's largest Internet retailer's holiday push has been tarnished by strikes in Germany and a BBC report questioning working conditions in the company's U.K. warehouses.