Amazon said it is set to begin making drone deliveries “in the coming months” as it unveiled its latest high-tech Prime Air delivery drone.
At its Re:MARS conference in Las Vegas, in which the online retailer showcases its latest technological innovations, Amazon unveiled its new six-rotor delivery drone.
The hybrid aircraft is capable of vertical take-off and landing, as well as sustained forward flight, and uses a combination of data from visual, thermal and ultrasonic sensors to autonomously navigate.
It is also capable of transporting 2.3kg packages up to 15 miles, meeting the retailer’s ambitions of creating “fully electric drones that can fly up to 15 miles and deliver packages under five pounds to customers in less than 30 minutes.”
Amazon is understood to be very close to meeting this goal, adding that it planned to begin making deliveries over the next few months.
Despite this announcement, details on where exactly these deliveries would take place remained vague.
According to the BBC, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which gave Google permission to begin carrying out drone deliveries for the first time earlier this year, has given Amazon the same permissions.
“The FAA issued a Special Airworthiness Certificate to Amazon Prime Air allowing the company to operate its MK27 unmanned aircraft for research and development and crew training in authorized flight areas,” the FAA told the BBC.
“Amazon Prime Air plans to use the aircraft to establish a package delivery operation in the United States. This certificate is valid for one year and is eligible for renewal.”
Amazon’s consumer worldwide chief executive Jeff Wilke said: “Some drones are autonomous but not able to react to the unexpected, relying simply on communications systems for situational awareness.
“If our drone’s flight environment changes, or the drone‘s mission commands it to come into contact with an object that wasn’t there previously – it will refuse to do so – it is independently safe.”
“I’m sure that it will be a concern, although it might not be that different from the noise from a delivery truck arriving at your home.
“The only difference is that the drone might be closer to a person’s home if it’s landing in the garden.”