Eyebrows were raised when Amazon revealed its Prime Air delivery initiative last year, promising to use commercial drones to deliver small packages within half an hour to major American cities.
Was it a publicity stunt conveniently timed to coincide with the holiday sales, or was it fanciful thinking from one of the tech world's most notorious dreamers?
Well seemingly it was neither. Today, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told shareholders the octo-copters are not only real, but they're already multiple generations along.
In a letter published to the SEC, Bezos wrote: "The Prime Air team is already flight testing our fifth and sixth generation aerial vehicles, and we are in the design phase on generations seventh and eighth."
Previously, Bezos had claimed the future-thinking Prime Air scheme could be airborne within four years.
The company must wait for the FAA in the United States to set regulations for the commercial, domestic use of drones, that have traditionally been deployed for military purposes. It also faces several challenges over privacy concerns.
Whether Bezos can achieve or, more specifically, will be allowed to achieve his goal is still up in the air, but today's revelations certainly remove some of the doubt surrounding the sincerity of his intentions.
Elsewhere in the letter, Bezos gave himself an assist for the FAA's ruling to allow the use of personal electronics during take off and landing.
He added: "Our public policy team, with the help of many allies, worked patiently for four years on this, at one point loading a test plane with 150 active Kindles. Yes, it all worked fine!"
Via The Verge