x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Amazon’s gift from above

Delivery by drone may be on its way, says internet entrepreneur Jeff Bezos.

Jeff Bezos, the billionaire behind online shopping behemoth Amazon.com, is certainly a man to be taken seriously. So when he says his company may soon deliver its products within half an hour of purchase via drone aircraft, it may not be just talk.

Mr Bezos, who built a modest bookstore into the world’s premier online shopping site, realises that one of the attractions of the internet is instant gratification. E-books, music and movies can be beamed directly to your home, but physical products take a little longer.

Amazon has already struck a deal with the US Postal Service for Sunday services to ensure quicker delivery. Now, Mr Bezos says, the next step is a small “octocopter” aircraft that can deliver products of up to 2 kilograms within a 16-kilometre radius of an Amazon warehouse.

With approval from aviation authorities, the service could begin in the US within five years, Mr Bezos told the 60 Minutes television programme.

Such a service would certainly find a market in the UAE, where there is no door-to-door postal service but there will soon be a comprehensive address system allowing the identification of premises by GPS.

So, one day, you may be able to pluck the latest bestseller from the sky. But if it’s a hardback, you might need a crash helmet.