Amazon Prime Air – The New Drone Delivery System Unveiled
On November 30, which happened to be Cyber Monday, retail giant Amazon made headlines when they released a video of a prototype of delivery drones they have purportedly been developing. The drone, which looks more like an airplane than a helicopter, is an updated version of Amazon’s package delivery system, the Amazon Prime Air, made public by the company’s CEO back in 2013.
Compared to the previous model, the new drone is different and improved on almost every front. It still takes off vertically like a helicopter but switches to horizontal mode like a plane once 400 feet above the ground. It’s also fitted with sensors to help it dodge obstacles both while in the air and during take-off and landing. Also, unlike its predecessor, which would drop packages to the ground, this new vehicle notifies the recipient of the exact time it will arrive, and lands only on a predesignated zone – an area marked with a placard bearing the Amazon logo.
The drone flies at 55mph and can travel a distance of up to 15 miles. This, added to its plausibly small size, means Amazon can only use the drone to deliver small packages to customers in the vicinity of its stores.
Perhaps the biggest challenge the company is set to face is the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA)’s rule which impedes the use of drones for commercial purposes.
There’s no saying that drone delivery is a flight of fancy, though, because Amazon officials, who are busy commissioning the manufacture of more drones, believe the Amazon Prime Air is a soon-to-be reality.