It sounds like an April Fools' joke, but this is totally real. Amazon just revealed a shock-inducing plan to get delivery times down to a mere 30 minutes by using an army of aerial drones. The service is still in R&D, but was teased Sunday night on 60 Minutes by CEO Jeff Bezos in what amounted to a lengthy Amazon infomercial. You can view the entire episode online; he starts talking about it at 11:30. Or just check out the amazing little video below about the service, which they're calling Amazon Prime Air.
The unmanned drones are equipped with GPS and can carry objects weighing up to five pounds, which is 86 percent of the objects Amazon delivers. Their range is up to 10 miles from any fulfillment center, but as Amazon keeps building more and more of those, I imagine that will incorporate most metro areas by 2015. Why 2015? Bezos says that's the soonest Amazon Prime Air will be airborne because of shifting FAA regulations.
Domino's has tested its own delivery drone, but Amazon is getting all the press (along with more than 2 million YouTube views in 12 hours) thanks to Sunday's high-profile announcement. Given that Amazon also apparently provides the private cloud for the CIA, I somehow doubt they'll have much trouble swaying the FAA. Which means that in just a few short years, a massive swarming army of Amazon bots will be descending over your neighborhood bringing holiday cheer.
Let's hope they dress them in tiny appropriate holiday hats.