Package Delivery in 30 Minutes

Shop online, hit the “buy” button and get your product 30 minutes later. How futuristic is that?

The future is now at Amazon. Recently, the retail giant revealed the latest prototype of drones it will deploy as part of its Prime Air Service using unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver packages in less than 30 minutes.

According to details released Sunday by Amazon, the “octocopter” drones weigh 55 pounds and can carry packages weighing up to 5 pounds. The drones fly under 400 feet and use “sense and avoid” technology to dodge potential obstacles en route to their delivery destinations.

Amazon says they are testing drones in “multiple international locations” and will launch the service once the company has “the regulatory support needed to safely realize our vision.”

Although the plan will require more safety testing and FAA approvals in the U.S., Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos estimates that delivery-by-drone, dubbed Amazon “Prime Air,” will be available to customers as soon as 4-5 years.

Other companies are getting in on the act. Google is eyeing 2017 for the launch of a drone delivery operation transporting packages to consumers by drone. David Vos of Google’s Project Wing — the internal project for testing drone use – recently talked about the project to an audience at an air traffic control convention near Washington, D.C.

Google is not the only company exploring drone delivery. Last month, Walmart revealed it was seeking permission from the FAA to test drones for deliveries.

As a baby boomer who grew up watching the Jetsons, I get wildly enthusiastic about news like this. How about you?