Amazon’s latest innovation debut was its new, fully electric package delivery drone which Amazon stated they will start to use for shipping packages to consumers “in a matter of months.” This was announced by Amazon executive Jeff Wilke at the re:MARS conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday. The drones would be able to fly up to 15 miles for packages under five pounds with a delivery time of less than 30 minutes. Although it may seem like a light load, Wilke stated that this would account for 75 to 90% of Amazon deliveries.
These drones are a facet of Amazon’s goal to reduce package delivery times along with its one-day shipping services to its Prime members in North America. The drone’s hybrid design allows it to take off and land vertically while also flying horizontally during the course of its delivery.
Amazon has gone through more than two dozen drone designs since they first announced its plan for Prime Air delivery back in 2013. None of the prior designs were as quiet or able to avoid other aircraft, wires, or people than this most recent version. “A safe, truly autonomous drone was only option,” Wilke said.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, beat Amazon in launching one of the first drone delivery services in Australia earlier this spring. It also became the first company to receive Federal Aviation Administration approval to make commercial deliveries in the United States. The FAA has told Forbes that it has given Amazon a one year approval, with the option to renew, for research and testing, though not for commercial deliveries. “Today, 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 said.
On top of the new drones, Amazon also announced new warehouse robot and improvements to Alexa. The “Pegasus Drive Sortation” device can take packages from where human workers place them and autonomously sort them, sending them to a specific area where they’ll be delivered to a given destination, effectively removing miss-sorts by over 50%.
The future of Amazon looks bright, with new updates coming every year. They are slowly revolutionizing the delivery process, making it more efficient than it has ever been.