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NEW YORK (AP) - Need a quick delivery? Jeff Bezos wants to send in the drones.
That's the not-so-distant reality the Amazon.com CEO envisions, a future in which his company transports packages in 30 minutes or less _using self-guided drones.
While many regulatory hurdles stand in the way, it's not hard to imagine how such a service might change our lives. Forget home delivery. With the so-called Prime Air unmanned aircraft project, Amazon can potentially deliver goods to customers who are camped out in the middle of a field. Here are some novel ways consumer might make use of a delivery drone service:
_ Sitting at the ballpark and don't want to pay $8.50 for a beer? No worries, as an Amazon Prime customer, the "Amazon Express Chopper" will bring you a cold six-pack of your favorite craft beer for just $7.
_ You're out on a romantic picnic with your girlfriend when the silence is broken by a low buzzing. The chopper slowly approaches her with a diamond ring and a note: Will you marry me?
_ Out hiking in the woods and hungry? Don't fret. Amazon will bring you a hot pizza with all the toppings. And don't forget that 30-minutes-or-less guarantee.
_ Want the latest news? Twitter and iPhones are so 2013. Amazon will bring you a freshly printed copy of the Bezos-owned Washington Post.
_ For the right price, maybe the drone will even change your baby's diaper and fly off with the dirty one.
_ Your high school English teacher announces a Monday morning pop quiz. But you didn't bother to read Macbeth over the weekend. No worries, Amazon will race the Cliff's Notes version to you faster than you can say "summer school."
_ Forgot your mother's birthday? No you didn't. Amazon will fly flowers to her doorstep with "hand-signed" card _at any hour.
_ Improve your social media appearance with a little help from a well-timed Amazon drone dispatched to hover above you with a smartphone awaiting your word. Just gaze skyward and smile. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will never be the same.
_ Autograph hounds will relish sending a drone over the seething masses to get the signature of their favorite celebrity or ballplayer. Just make sure the Amazon drone knows how to spell your name.
_ Scorching sun and an empty bottle of sunscreen won't ruin a relaxing day at the beach. Just fill out an Amazon order and a new bottle will quickly arrive. Pay a little extra and the drone might just apply sunscreen to that hard-to-reach spot on your back.
_ Finally, an unmanned aircraft could be used to deliver your very own drone. Just don't use the new toy to start delivering goods yourself. If you do, Bezos might send his new drone army after you.
Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)