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December 3, 2013

Drones to replace Father Christmas?

Amazon hopes to use unmanned drones to deliver goods by 2018.

By Joe Curtis

Drones may be delivering Christmas presents come 2018, if Amazon’s plans come off.

The online retailer is testing the use of unmanned drones for delivering packages weighing up to 2.3kg to customers within a half hour of them placing their order.

CEO Jeff Bezos told CBS its proposed Prime Air service "looks like science fiction, but it’s not", though admitted the service was still some way off in the future, explaining it could take up to five years for the service to begin.

The US Federal Aviation Administration has not yet approved the use of unmanned drones for civilian purposes, but has approved their use for police and government agencies, having issued 1,400 permits over a number of recent years.

However, civilian air space is likely to be opened up to a variety of drone services by 2015 in America and 2016 across Europe.

Amazon told the BBC: "From a technology point of view, we’ll be ready to enter commercial operations as soon as the necessary regulations are in place".

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