Reports: Amazon hopes to deliver packages by drone

Seattle-based online retailer tests electric helicopter drones capable of half-hour delivery

NEW YORK — From its beginning during the dot-com boom of the 1990s, Amazon hasn't shied away from trying new things, but its latest initiative goes above and beyond — with an emphasis on "above."

CBS' "60 Minutes" reported Sunday evening that the online retailer is looking into delivering some products with drones. In a lab at its Seattle headquarters, the company has been testing electrically powered helicopter drones called "octocopters" that would pick up small packages in fulfillment centers, store them in small plastic buckets and deliver them over short distances.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told CBS' Charlie Rose that the "PrimeAir" drones are robotic, programmed with the GPS coordinates of a recipient's address, and have a range of about 10 miles. The idea is to make it possible to have small items delivered within 30 minutes, though Bezos said it would be about four or five years before the service could be launched because the company would first need to come into compliance with Federal Aviation Authority regulations.

A video of the "60 Minutes" segment can be viewed by clicking here.

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