Attention shoppers: Your next Amazon delivery may come from the skies.
At its re:MARS Conference in Las Vegas, Amazon consumer worldwide CEO Jeff Wilke unveiled the latest version of the company's Prime Air delivery drone. The fully electric drone can fly up to 15 miles and deliver packages weighing under five pounds in as little as 30 minutes. According to Amazon, that accounts for 75% to 90% of all deliveries.
Amazon says its new Prime Air drone will be begin making deliveries to customers "within months." (Sorry, doesn't look your Amazon Prime Day purchases will be dropped off from the skies).
Like a helicopter, Amazon's new hybrid drone can do vertical takeoffs and landings. It can also transition from vertical mode to airplane mode.
The drone's rotors are fully covered for safety and the covers double as wings when the drone is in sustained flight.
At the same conference, Amazon showed a video of the Prime Air drone in action. In the roughly 1-minute clip, you can see the drone take off vertically like a helicopter and then transition to a horizontal flight pattern like a traditional airplane. The video, however, doesn't demonstrate how loud the drone is (or isn't).
Amazon says the drone is controlled with six degrees of freedom rather than the standard four. The company says this makes it more stable and capable of safely operating under gusty wind conditions.
Safety is of utmost concert for any drone and Amazon says its new Prime Air drone can identify static objects using sensors and advanced algorithms. It's even smart enough to detect wires/cables in a person's backyard. To avoid collision with moving objects, such as another Amazon drone out for delivery, it uses proprietary computer-vision and machine learning algorithms.
When it comes to emissions and efficiency, Amazon says its electric drone "tremendously" reduces fuel usage and emissions, as it'll allows shoppers to make purchases from home without having to drive out to the store.
Amazon is said to be testing its drone service in the UK.
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