Prime Air: Amazon’s delivery drones
Amazon announced its first drone delivery all the way back in 2016, getting customers excited and rival retailers hot under the collar, but since then Amazon has been pretty quite about the aerial delivery venture.
Prime Air only made the trial available to two customers in the UK at the time, under conditions of light delivery items, huge landing space and pleasant weather. We’d almost forgotten about these mystical robot couriers of the future, until June of this year when a newer drone was announced at the Amazon re:MARS conference in Las Vegas. CEO Jeff Wilke boasted in his keynote of the autonomous drones that can deliver packages under 5 pounds, in under 30 minutes to locations up to 15 miles away. After a long awaited update, there was some skepticism as to the actual release of the service to Amazon customers, especially regarding Wilke’s vague estimate of a roll-out in “coming months.”
With a relatively unprecedented service such as this, though, the company’s cautious attitude is something of a comfort. Amazon wants to ensure that the service will not be made public until it is guaranteed to be safe for use and the ‘sense and avoid’ technology has been perfected.
The exciting news is that the Federal Aviation Administration has finally approved testing of the drones in the US, and Amazon has of August formally submitted a request to conduct commercial drone activities, bringing the world one step closer to products swooping in from the sky.