This year, drones that can travel at 50 mph and climb to heights of 400 feet will be used by Amazon to make its long-awaited drone deliveries a reality.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) November 10, 2022
Deliveries must weigh less than 5 pounds in order for Prime Air to use what The Sun called a “super drone” to start service in some areas of northern California and Texas by the end of 2022.
According to Amazon’s website, the new drones can deliver products to consumers “in less than an hour, from click to delivery.”
In a report, Calsee Hendrickson, who oversees product and program management for the Prime Air drone program, claimed that Amazon has safety in mind as much as speed.
She said that “If the drone encounters another aircraft when it’s flying, it’ll fly around that other aircraft. If, when it gets to its delivery location, your dog runs underneath the drone, we won’t deliver the package.”
After company founder Jeff Bezos first announced it, Amazon’s drone delivery service comes nearly a decade. Hendrickson said the drones are safe, as the MK27-2 drone becomes ready to move from the lab to the real world.
Hendrickson said, “We like to refer to the drone as being independently safe, which means that it has the power to make the decision. It saw something that had a heat signature underneath the drone and was able to not deliver a package and return back to the station.”
“But the drones do have an operator in command that is overseeing the entire airspace.”
In an approximately size of a shoe box, the package it delivers has to fit into it. The drone is about 5 1/2 feet in diameter and weighs 80 pounds, Hendrickson said.
With its hexagon frame serving the function of wings, the six-propeller drone takes off vertically and then rotates to go forward as CNBC outlined the plan for deliveries.
Once it scans the ground to be sure nothing will get hit, upon arrival at its destination, it will drop the package from about 12 feet.
Customers don’t have to be home when the drone delivers their packages. The drone has a range of around 7 1/2 miles round trip.
“We’ve made sure that all of those products are both capable of being OK when they are delivered,” Hendrickson said, “And our packaging, which is displayed behind me as well, is a special packaging that ensures that the integrity of the product is still intact after the delivery.”
Amazon revealed a better drone is coming even before the first one starts earning its keep. On its website, Amazon wrote:
“We’re now introducing our next generation delivery drone: the MK30. Due to come into service in 2024, this drone will be lighter and smaller than the MK27-2, the drone that will be making deliveries in Lockeford [California] and College Station [Texas].”
“The MK30’s increased range, expanded temperature tolerance, safety-critical features, and new capability to fly in light rain will enable customers to choose drone delivery more often.
“Reducing the noise signature of our drones is an important engineering challenge that our team is working on. Our drones fly hundreds of feet in the air, well above people and structures. Even when they descend to deliver packages, our drones are generally quieter than a range of sounds you would commonly hear in a typical neighborhood.”
“Still, Prime Air’s Flight Science team has created new custom-designed propellers that will reduce the MK30’s perceived noise by another 25%. That’s a game-changer, and we’re very excited about it,” Amazon said.
Amazon unveiled a new, smaller drone capable of flying in the rain, the next step in its push to deliver light packages to customers in under an hour https://t.co/AqrkKyAsOb pic.twitter.com/SS0GbuKo6n
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) November 10, 2022