Amazon is leading the way in drone delivery tech. Their new service, Prime Air, is looking to begin delivering packages in 30 minutes or less.
“It looks like science fiction, but it’s real. One day, seeing Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road.”
That’s the beginning of the official statement from Amazon.com regarding their recent release of a video that has the world very excited. It showcases the latest designs for their delivery retail drone prototypes. These drones are the driving factor in the new Prime Air service, which revolves around using unmanned aerial devices to deliver packages in less than 30 minutes. That’s right. Just like a pizza delivery service, you can get shoes, jewelry, electronics, and more in just 30 minutes or less without leaving home.
The statement detailed that these drones will weigh up to 55 pounds, and can carry packages that weigh no more than 5 pounds. They’re also designed to match the current environment so as to not disturb the aesthetic appeal of the city. Amazon means to unleash these drones in multiple international locations, so different designs is important for different customs.
Amazon has also made it clear that the characteristics will continue to improve over time. They, of course, want to create a larger, sturdier drone that can handle larger amounts of weight, furthering the service.
What’s amazing is that these drones have the technological capacity to avoid obstacles. They fly below 400 feet in the air, and use a special sensor to “sense and avoid” obstacles en route.
Watch the video promo below to see all the details.
The company has been seeking approval for this project for the past two years. The FAA finally sanctioned the project a month ago, and now the drones are in the testing phase.
“We are testing many different vehicle designs and delivery mechanisms to discover how best to deliver packages in a variety of environments,” said the official statement. “We have more than a dozen prototypes that we’ve developed in our research and development labs. The look and characteristics of the vehicles will evolve over time.”
The statement also revealed that they have testing centers in the United States, United Kingdom, and Israel. These diverse locations allow Amazon to gain more knowledge and feedback for their tests, which will lead to a better product overall.
The major concern about these drones has obviously been safety. In response to this concern, Amazon stated:
“Safety is our top priority. Our vehicles will be built with multiple redundancies, as well as sophisticated ‘sense and avoid’ technology. We will not launch Prime Air until we are able to demonstrate safe operations.”
However, they have not addressed the concerns about packages arriving to their destination perfectly in tact. An unmanned drone is obviously a target for hijacking. It doesn’t seem like it would be too difficult to knock a drone out of the air and take the packages inside. The prototype is still in its earliest stages, and Amazon will no doubt answer this concern before it launches officially.
Whether or not this drone prototype will be successful is up in the air, but there’s no denying that Amazon has set a precedent for drone delivery that retailers across the nation will attempt to mimic.
Walmart, for example, has already stated that they want Amazon-like delivery drones. Though no details have been released, it’s been hinted at that they’re already working out the details to their own delivery drone prototype. This is no doubt the beginning of a wave of automated delivery for retailers.
When asked when Prime Air will be available as a delivery option for everyday consumers, Amazon responded, “We will deploy when and where we have the regulatory support needed to safely realize our vision. We’re excited about this technology and one day using it to deliver packages to customers around the world in 30 minutes or less.”