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Now UPS looks at drone delivery

Tuesday, December 03 16:00:43

UPS today said it is looking at developing robotic flying drones to deliver its packages.

The announcement comes after Amazon.com said it is testing delivery packages using drones, CEO Jeff Bezos said on the CBS television program "60 Minutes" in the US.

Bezos said the drones, unmanned vehicles that fly through the air, could deliver packages that weigh up to five pounds (2.3 kg). That represents roughly 86 percent of packages that Amazon delivers, he said.

The drones, which would pick up items from Amazon's distribution centres and fly them to customer's homes, probably won't be put into use for four or five years, Bezos said.

By Bezos' own admission, the technology that would enable electric-powered 'octocopters' to fly to pre-programmed addresses unaided by humans is still early in development, and the United States is not likely to establish rules for civilian unmanned aircraft systems until 2015 at the earliest.

On top of that, the idea faces privacy concerns and was derided by some as merely a publicity stunt.

"I know this looks like science fiction. It's not," Bezos told Charlie Rose on CBS News' "60 Minutes" show, demonstrating video of a buzzing, toy-sized chopper delicately dropping a small package on a customer's patio.