Amazon, the US e-commerce company, announced on the 5th that it will launch autonomous vehicles to deliver goods within a few months. However, Amazon did not mention the specific time, nor did it specify the specific area of autonomous aircraft delivery.
Amazon announced the drone delivery plan as early as 2013; it launched the trial version of the Prime Air drone delivery service in Cambridge, England in December 2016; until 2017, Amazon’s Prime Air drone was at the SXSW conference. It made its debut, but because the US Federal Aviation Administration stipulated that the drone could not fly outside the operator’s sight, the delivery function was not shown at the show.
Today, Amazon has released the latest version of Prime Air, which has a further improvement in appearance and performance compared to the 2017 drone. The new version of the Prime Air has a novel shape and shield with six degrees of freedom and six optimized propellers that suppress high frequency sound. Not only that, the new Prime Air is capable of taking off and landing vertically, and can carry packages under 5 pounds (about 2.3 kilograms) for delivery to customers within half an hour, with a range of up to 15 miles .
In addition to appearance and performance, safety is one of the criteria for inspection; there are two main indicators: whether the airspace is safe and whether it is safe to be close to the ground.
In the air, the new Prime Air’s propellers have an s-shaped curve that stabilizes them in high winds and is easy to ground, reducing the possibility of damage. In the field of ground, the new version of the drone is equipped with sensors (including stereo RGB cameras and thermal imaging cameras) that provide data to complex machine learning algorithms and automatically detect if it is too close to the customer and avoid obstacles.
In addition, it is worth mentioning that Amazon said in its blog that drones can help Amazon achieve zero carbon emissions targets by 2030. According to the company, the electric drone can be recharged in a sustainable manner and is more energy efficient than transporting parcels by car.
In addition to the technical level of improvement, whether the drone can realize its delivery function is inseparable from the government’s permission. At the re:MARS conference, Amazon Global Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke said that Amazon has been licensed by federal agencies to test drones in the United States. But obviously, Amazon’s goal is not only that, they want to achieve business services.
However, when these new drones come in handy, Amazon has not given a specific timetable.