It’s been two years since Amazon made the bold claim that it’d have drones delivering our books and box sets, but they’ve been awfully quiet about when we’d be getting robot delivery men. However today we got our first look at what Amazon Prime Air may look like.
In the ad, former Top Gear host, Jeremy Clarkson breaks down the drones incredible speed and reliability, calling it “a miracle of modern technology”.
According to the advert, the drone will be able to deliver packages within 30 minutes of ordering, will fly up to 15 miles from the depo and will dodge obstacles as it flies. For landing the customer simply puts out a small landing pad that the user puts in a suitable area, although the adverts a bit vague on how this works.
The delivery drone in the advert is different from the quadcopter design we saw last time, instead it has two propellers one for vertical flight and one for horizontal flight making it a plane/helicopter hybrid. After a package (which must be five pounds or less) is loaded on board, the drone rises up to 400 feet and then switches propeller systems to fly to its destination.
The ad doesn’t tell us when Amazon plan on making the service available, only saying “The not too distant future.” However their website does say, “Putting Prime Air into service will take some time, but we will deploy when we have the regulatory support needed to realize our vision.”
Nevertheless, it seems that Amazon is committed to making Prime Air a reality, although in the UK Amazon’s biggest stumbling block is that unmanned aircraft must always be flown within the ‘line of sight’ of the pilot. This means they’d struggle to get further than about 1,600 feet from the depot, without having someone follow the drone, which defeats the purpose of drone delivery.