Amazon: future is in the (Prime) Air

Article published on 12/01/2015 - New technologies

How about having your Amazon purchases delivered within 30 minutes by a drone? It's not going to happen tomorrow, but we're getting there.

Amazon's concept of deliveries made by drones, aka Prime Air, was revealed two years ago by the company's CEO Jeff Bezos. More precisely, the idea is to enable a delivery within 30 minutes, anywhere. The fastest way being by air, a small, autonomous yet secure mode of transportation is required. That's were the multirotor Miniature Unmanned Air Vehicle, also known as Miniature UAV, or drone, becomes the key factor. Of course the orders will have to fulfil some conditions to be drone-eligible. The package can't be heavier than 5 pounds, it has to fit in the drone's compartment and the delivery location has to be within a 10 miles radius of an Amazon distribution center. Also, any drone won't do, it has to be specially designed for this purpose.

In March this year, Amazon was granted with permission to build and test a prototype in the US by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), as long as some rules were followed, such as limited speed (100 mph) and altitude (400 ft). The last of these Amazon Prime Air drones prototypes has just been unveiled, along with a commercial (below). On a dedicated article, Amazon explains that safety is its main concern and that Air Prime won't be launched until they "are able to demonstrate safe operations". We must admit, it's going to be quite interesting to see flying parcels all over the world... Sci fi is just a drone away.

Photo: Amazon.com

Article written by Cécile Lessard
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