Amazon shows off prototype drone for future delivery service in new video
The family dog chews up a shoe that belongs to a young girl, and her parents order a new pair that arrives by drone in 30 minutes. The drone delivers the package in the family’s backyard, then quickly rises up vertically and flies away from the spacious, quiet neighborhood. This is the rather optimistic, futuristic setting for Amazon’s Prime Air teaser video, which was released on Sunday (and featuresTop Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson). The video offers an updated look at what the company’s drone delivery service would look like—that is once they could get it cleared by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The prototype drone in the video looks like a combination of a tiny helicopter and an airplane and has the ability to fly for 15 miles. According to Amazon, the drones used in the delivery service—which was first announced by Amazon in December 2013—would be able to sense obstacles on the ground and in the air to avoid any collisions. The video also shows the drone touching down on a landing strip with an Amazon logo, which was apparently placed in the back yard by the family. It looks like the drone might need one of the landing strips to know where to land. (This would probably look different if the drone was making a delivery in a busy city.) According to the video, a “family” of different drones will be used in Amazon’s delivery service—we’re guessing that there could be different sized drones based on the size of the package.
Amazon keeps moving forward with its vision for drone delivery, but the FAA is still working on regulations for commercial drones. NPR reported last week that the FAA doesn’t currently have a timeline for implementing these rules. So we probably won’t see Amazon Air taking off any time soon.
“Putting Prime Air into service will take some time, but we will deploy when we have the regulatory support needed to realize our vision,” Amazon states on its website.