Amazon.com says it's considering using drone aircraft for deliveries.

The online retailer says it's working on its Prime Air project in its research and development labs. It says the idea is that the delivery system would be able to get purchases to customers in less than 30 minutes through the use of the unmanned aircraft.

The project was first reported Sunday by CBS' "60 Minutes," which showed a demo video of the aircraft picking up packages in small yellow buckets at Amazon's warehouses. The so-called "octocopters" then fly through the air delivering items after customers hit the "buy" button at Amazon.com.

Bezos told 60 Minutes that the service could be up and running in as few as four years — although he noted that he is an optimist when it comes to such things.

But Amazon.com Inc. says it will take years to advance the needed technology and for the needed federal Aviation Administration rules and regulations to be created.

USA Today reported Monday that the FAA currently limits the use of drones in the U.S. to public entities, but it that it plans to have regulations governing commercial use in place by 2015.

"This is precisely the type of application that Congress had in mind when it told the FAA in 2012 to come up with rules for commercial unmanned aircraft," said to USA Today Ryan Calo, an expert on robotics, privacy and the law at the University of Washington. 

Amazon will be able to petition the FAA to show them how its drone delivery technology works and the company can also apply to test its drones to make sure they are air worthy,he added.

"They will need a plan for safety," Calo said. "But I see no reason why this application won't fly."

"We'll be ready to enter commercial operations as soon as the necessary regulations are in place," Amazon said Sunday. "Safety will be our top priority, and our vehicles will be built with multiple redundancies and designed to commercial aviation standards."

 

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