Drone delivery for Amazon Prime subscribers might be on its way soon. In a video released on Nov. 29, Top Gear television personality Jeremy Clarkson narrates the story of a last-minute delivery enabled by a drone:
The model of drone shown in the video has a range of 15 miles and uses sensors to keep track of its own route, its own timing, and other craft and obstacles around it.
When it arrives at its destination, the drone scans for open ground on which to land. (The app with which the customer placed the order also advises them to clear any potential obstacles out of their yard.) In the video, the drone appears to land on a laminated sheet instead of directly on the ground.
Amazon says that a variety of types of drones are being tested in order to find out which works best. Additionally, the company will have a fleet of different types of drones for different-sized packages and different environments. Development is taking place in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel, with test flights performed around the world. The proposed drones will weigh less than 55 pounds and fly at under 400 feet in order to avoid other air traffic.
There’s no official word yet on when the service will be rolled out to the public. The official Amazon page for the program says “Putting Prime Air into service will take some time, but we will deploy when we have the regulatory support needed to realize our vision.”
In order to gain that regulatory support, Amazon has produced two airspace proposals that suggest guidelines for drone flight and standards. According to Reuters, the Federal Aviation Administration plans to have their own regulations in place regarding commercial delivery drones in the next 12 months.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense