They’re not legal at all.
During a 60 Minutes interview last night, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos revealed that the company is experimenting with self-piloting delivery drones that will fly an order to your house 30 minutes after you place it.
The future of Amazon delivery appears to be completely automated, but the company has quite a way to go on the legal front. Bezos says that the Amazon drones could be in operation by 2015, but acknowledges that timeline as optimistic.
Commercial drone certification isn’t even slated to begin until 2020 under the FAA’s roadmap. Remember, these are the guys who only just recently let you read a Kindle during takeoff.
Hobbyist drones, like those used by videographers to get awesome shots, are limited to operating no higher 400 feet. But Amazon’s drones are large commercial instruments without pilots, and they’d be carrying payloads up to five pounds in weight a distance of up to 10 miles. Quartz puts it bluntly — drones can explode and run into things. This type of drone is currently outside the bounds of the law for a reason.
So if Amazon’s miracle drones aren’t an imminent practical reality with the laws set up as they are, why would it spill the beans?
It was likely a move designed to get the public to share Amazon’s vision of what the future could look like. When the time actually does come for this stuff to get regulated, public opinion will be paramount. (And Amazon is probably also glad to catapult itself into the news the night before the biggest online shopping day of the year.)
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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