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Amazon Sees Delivery Drones As Future

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Many of you are going online for Cyber Monday deals. In the future, you could have those purchases in minutes… using drones. It’s part of an ambitious new plan from Amazon.

Mike Hellgren has more on how drone deliveries will work.

Cyber Monday sales are setting records–we’re talking $2 billion today. Baltimore’s distribution center under construction will be a big part of the expansion of Amazon.com. In five to 10 years, those living within a 10-mile radius could get packages flown directly to their homes.

With online sales beating records, the world’s largest cyber-retailer, Amazon.com, unveiled what it hopes will be the competitive edge: using electric-powered drones to deliver packages through the air.

The company’s founder explained how it works on “60 Minutes.”

“Drops the package. You come and get your package. We can do half-hour delivery, carrying objects up to five pounds, which covers 86 percent of the items we deliver,” said Jeff Bezos.

Amazon’s innovative system already has shoppers talking.

“It seems pretty impressive. It’s the next way to get your next customer,” said one.

“My concern is what else is it doing that we don’t know about,” said Bob Benny. “While it’s dropping stuff off at the front door, who’s to say it’s not hovering around your back window?”

“I think it would be good for business for Amazon and I think it will be great for customers, as well,” said another shopper.

And deliveries could reach most of Baltimore once the massive distribution center at Southeast Baltimore’s old GM plant site is up. The walls are already going up. It will be 2.8 million square feet and open next fall.

But it will take more time to fully develop the drone deliveries–at least three years and maybe as many as 10.

“It won’t work for everything. We’re not going to be delivering kayaks or table saws this way,” Bezos said. “This thing can’t land on someone’s head just around the corner. This is years of additional work at this point.”

Right now, Amazon customers in Maryland do not pay sales tax. That will change once the new distribution center is running.

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