The e-commerce behemoth Amazon, after launching a one-day delivery option for Prime users, is now slowly but steadily working towards a 30-minute delivery using its Prime Air drone design.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States recently agreed upon “beyond-visual-line-of-sight” drone flight. Till now, the agency had a strict rule that required the drone to remain in the line of sight of the drone operator. This was one of the biggest hurdles for Amazon to carry out commercial drone operations for delivery purposes. However, this decision is an important milestone for e-commerce companies like Amazon that are planning to expedite the delivery process.
Prime Air Service is already operational in few parts of Europe but it’s yet to begin in the United States. Amazon recently showed a new drone design in June this year and claimed to launch the 30-minute drone delivery plan within three months. The drone is capable of taking off, landing as well as flying forward.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks completed the first “beyond line of sight” flight test, which took place in Alaska over an oil pipeline. The new drone design was disclosed at Amazon’s re:MARS Conference by Amazon’s Consumer Worldwide CEO Jeff Wilke. The drone design is very stable and sturdy just as that of a commercial aircraft. Using sonar, thermal, and depth cameras, it can easily detect various hurdles and navigate effectively. A tilting design of the drone allows it to use its six propellers while taking off and landing.
Amazon claims that the Prime Air drone can cover up to 15 miles and carry about 5 pounds of packages in under 30 minutes. The organization is yet to get approval on its drone design from FAA.
While Amazon first announced the Prime Air initiative back in 2013, it was delayed due to various logistics aerospace standard issues. However, if all goes well, the service will be launched soon in the coming months.