Amazon.com Inc. is testing drones that it hopes will deliver packages to customers within the next five years, company CEO Jeff Bezos said.
In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS's 60 Minutes, Bezos said the small, unmanned aircraft could deliver packages that weigh up to 2.3 kilograms to homes within 16 kilometres of the company's distribution centres.
The aim would be half-hour delivery.
A video from the Seattle-based company showed a drone labelled "Amazon PrimeAir" taking a package from a distribution centre to a customer's front yard.
"In urban areas, you could actually cover very significant portions of the population," Bezos said. "It won't work for everything — we're not going to deliver kayaks or table saws this way. These are electric motors, so this is all electric. It's very green. It's better than driving trucks around."
The drones would be autonomous, flying to programmed GPS co-ordinates.
"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 neighbourhood."
Bezos said the drones couldn't be put in place until 2015 because it would take that long to work out regulations with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. He said he optimistically hopes the drones could be delivering packages in four or five years.
"It will work and it will happen and it's going to be a lot of fun," he said.