One day, you could place an order on the Amazon website, and they’ll be able to deliver your package to your business by an aerial drone within 30 minutes of ordering.
The team involved in the programme include robotics experts, scientists, aeronautical engineers and a former NASA astronaut. Remote sensing experts are responsible for making the drone avoid obstacles safely.
The drones are small, unmanned aircraft, capable of flying for 30 minutes at a time, at up to 50mph. They’ll be able to deliver goods weighing up to 5lb (2.3kg), which covers 86% of all the company’s packages.
Amazon has been testing drones indoors and in other countries but it now wants permission to carry out test flights in outdoor areas. It has written to the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) for permission, and if approved, Amazon believes that the system could be in place within five years. .
The new service is called Prime Air and aims to be launched worldwide as soon as possible. Amazon’s head of public policy, Paul Misener, believes that one day drone delivery will be as normal as seeing postal vehicles on the road.
Legislation is an issue for the UK
Under current UK law, drones are banned from being used within 50 metres of a building or person, as they must remain within line of sight of the operator. The Civil Aviation Authority has already prosecuted two people in the UK for drone offences this year. In one incident, a man lost control of his homemade device. It flew next to a road bridge, over a river and landed near a nuclear facility.
Amazon has identified several safeguards for the test drones including a ‘kill switch’ that the controller can use to force a landing.
Future improvements to drones could mean they would be available to all sorts of companies, potentially changing the future of express deliveries for products and services. An exciting future is on the way!
When the news about Amazon’s drones was first announced, book retailer Waterstones countered with its own proposed new delivery system: Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service (OWLS).
How would you prefer to have your goods delivered? Leave a comment below.