Amazon completes its first drone-powered delivery in the UK 'Amazon Prime Air'
Amazon Prime Air Video
Amazon's video about the project says that it's only servicing a few customers in the area right now, but will soon be open to dozens more who live within a few miles of the Cambridge fulfillment center. Naturally, this center is custom-built to handle these types of orders -- once an order is placed and packaged up, the drone is loaded up and sent out from the facility on a motorized track. From takeoff, it flies at heights up to 400 feet to make the delivery and then return to the facility.
This Cambridge beta program has been in the works for a long time now; recently it was revealed that Amazon has been operating a secret lab in the area to get ready for the launch of Prime Air. Amazon's page detailing this first delivery notes that the company also has Prime Air labs in the US, Austria and Israel as well as the United Kingdom, so we may hear news about test deliveries in those areas sooner or later as well.
Is this science fiction or is this real?
It looks like science fiction, but it's real. One day, seeing Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road.
How will it work?
Amazon Prime Air is a service that will deliver packages up to five pounds in 30 minutes or less using small drones.
How are you going to ensure safety?
Safety is our top priority. Our vehicles will be built with multiple redundancies, as well as sophisticated “sense and avoid” technology. Additionally, through our private trial in the UK, we will gather data to continue improving the safety and reliability of our systems and operations.
When will I be able to choose Prime Air as a delivery option?
We will deploy when and where we have the regulatory support needed to safely realize our vision. We’re excited about this technology and one day using it to deliver packages to customers around the world in 30 minutes or less.
What will the Prime Air delivery vehicles look like?
We are testing many different vehicle designs and delivery mechanisms to discover how best to deliver packages in a variety of operating environments. The look and characteristics of the vehicles will continue to evolve over time.
Where are you building and testing?
We have Prime Air development centers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Austria and Israel. We are testing the vehicles in multiple international locations.
How will Amazon integrate Prime Air vehicles into the airspace?
We believe the airspace is safest when small drones are separated from most manned aircraft traffic, and where airspace access is determined by capabilities.
Can you tell me more about the private trial you launched in the UK?
It’s an exciting new development. Through this private customer trial, we will gather data to continue improving the safety and reliability of our systems and operations, bringing us one step closer to realizing this amazing innovation for all our customers.
What kind of weather will you operate in during the trial?
We are currently permitted to operate during daylight hours when there are low winds and good visibility, but not in rain, snow or icy conditions. Once we’ve gathered data to improve the safety and reliability of our systems and operations, we will expand the envelope.
Will you run similar trials in other countries?
We are working with regulators and policymakers in various countries in order to make Prime Air a reality for our customers around the world, and expect to continue to do so.