The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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December 3, 2013

Amazon.com sees delivery drones as future

NEW YORK — Amazon.com is working on a way to get customers their goods in 30 minutes or less — by drone.

Amazon.com said it’s working on the so-called Prime Air unmanned aircraft project in its research and development labs. But the company says it will take years to advance the technology and for the Federal Aviation Admini-stration to create the necessary rules and regulations.

The project was first reported Sunday by CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said the drones can carry packages that weigh up to five pounds, which covers about 86 percent of the items Amazon delivers. The current generation of drones the company is testing has a range of about 10 miles, which Bezos noted could cover a significant portion of the population in urban areas.

While it’s tough to say exactly how long it could take the project to get off the ground, Bezos told “60 Minutes” that he thinks it could happen in four or five years.

One of the biggest promises for civilian drone use has been in agriculture.

The unmanned aircraft can fly over large fields and search out bugs, rodents and other animals that might harm crops. Then, thanks to GPS, another drone could come back and spread pesticide on that small quadrant of the field.

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