Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has penned a new letter to shareholders (via Business Insider) addressing numerous parts of the business. Among these many parts is a little thing called Amazon Prime Air. Maybe you've heard of it.
Perhaps you're more familiar with it under its more common nickname "Amazon's Drones".
In December, Bezos appeared on 60 minutes, and revealed that the company has a program that will see drones delivering packages to people's homes. At least that's what it will do if the initiative ever sees the light of day.
The announcement was followed by a great deal of skepticism and accusations that the whole thing was just a publicity stunt. Well, publicity stunt or no, the company isn't letting it go.
According to Bezos, the project is still very much in the works, and they're already working on designing the eighth version of the drones. Here's the relevant snippet from the letter:
In partnership with the United States Postal Service, we’ve begun for the first time to offer Sunday delivery to select cities. Sunday delivery is a win for Amazon customers, and we plan to roll it out to a large portion of the U.S. population throughout 2014. We’ve created our own fast, last-mile delivery networks in the UK where commercial carriers couldn’t support our peak volumes. In India and China, where delivery infrastructure isn’t yet mature, you can see Amazon bike couriers delivering packages throughout the major cities. And there is more invention to come. The Prime Air team is already flight testing our 5th and 6th generation aerial vehicles, and we are in the design phase on generations 7 and 8.
We haven't heard anything about Prime Air lately. The company hasn't really talked about it much since the original unveiling, but here, Bezos is reminding us that it's still in Amazon's plans.
“Putting Prime Air into commercial use will take some number of years as we advance technology and wait for the necessary FAA rules and regulations,” said Amazon in December. “It looks like science fiction, but it’s real. From a technology point of view, we’ll be ready to enter commercial operations as soon as the necessary regulations are in place. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is actively working on rules for unmanned aerial vehicles.”
"One day, Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today,” the company said. “We hope the FAA’s rules will be in place as early as sometime in 2015. We will be ready at that time.”
Bezos, admitted, however, that it could be four or five years, and some are skeptical that even that is realistic. Either way, it sounds like Amazon will be ready, and with age-appropriate models.
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