Even though drones help us capture unprecedented aerial photography available to everyone, some companies are already thinking forward. Drones can be used as a transportation system to deliver goods, which is why companies like Amazon are putting a lot of effort into making this vision come true.
Three years ago, Amazon’s executives revealed plans of using drones to deliver goods. This project, called Amazon Prime Air, relied on autonomous quadcopters to deliver order within 30 minutes. However, there were plans to put this system into work by 2016, so as we can see now, this hasn’ happened. Still, the company hasn’t abandoned these plans, and is working harder than ever.
In a recent interview with Yahoo Tech, Amazon executive Paul Misener has revealed more details on the current state of this project. The good news is that drones will deliver your brand new video game or smartphone at some point in the future.
Even with the current plans, Misener believes that Prime Air drones will get delivery times to half an hour, with drones having a range of about 10 miles.
The company has already automated their busy warehouses and fulfillment centers with robot workers, so it’s natural to assume that these warehouses will serve as hubs for drones. These quadcopters will weigh about 55 pounds, and they will have the ability to carry up to five pounds.
It is clear that your brand new TV will still arrive to you by truck, but you can rely on drones to deliver smaller items. It is interesting to note that most things Amazon sells still weigh less than five pounds, which is one of the reasons the company is interested in developing this system.
As you can expect, there will be different drones for different areas of the U.S. Different designs will operate in different areas, because some drones will need to be more resistant to certain weather elements. This way, drones flying in arid regions will be quite different from the ones operating in the rainy pacific region.
Even though this sounds quite futuristic and exciting, there are still a lot of obstacles to be removed. One of the biggest ones are legal hurdles. The drone regulations are currently in control by FAA, which include the requirement that the operator maintains line-of-sight on the drone at all times.
This can be a big problem for the Amazon Prime Air project, but the company is said to work with the FAA on this issue. There are also some practical concerns. It would be very easy to catch or shoot down a drone, as well as to loot their contents.
This could be the largest potential pitfall for the project.
I think we can all agree that, as a concept, Prime Air is very exciting. It is safe to say that we are only a couple of years away for its materialization, even though this will be probably a pilot project in certain areas. Perhaps Amazon users in rural areas will get to use the drones first, because it’s hard to imagine a drone safely flying over busy rooftops of New York City.