Jeff Bezos boldly predicted five years ago that drones would be carrying Amazon packages to people's doorsteps by now. Amazon customers are still waiting. And it's unclear when, if ever, this particular order by the company's founder and CEO will arrive. Bezos made billions of dollars by transforming the retail sector. But overcoming the regulatory hurdles and safety issues posed by drones appears to be a challenge even for the world's wealthiest man. The result is a blown deadline on his claim to CBS' 60 Minutes in December 2013 that drones would be making deliveries within five years.
The day may not be far off when drones will carry medicine to people in rural or remote areas, but the marketing hype around instant delivery of consumer goods looks more and more like just that—hype, the AP reports. Drones have a short battery life, and privacy concerns can be a hindrance, too. "I don't think you will see delivery of burritos or diapers in the suburbs," says drone analyst Colin Snow. Drone usage has grown rapidly in some industries, but mostly outside the retail sector and direct interaction with consumers. Amazon says it is still pushing ahead with plans to use drones for quick deliveries, though the company is staying away from fixed timelines. (Bezos recently predicted that "one day, Amazon will fail.")