Amazon teases new details of planned Prime Air drone delivery service
Online retailer Amazon has released a new two-minute video hinting at more of its plans for Prime Air, a drone-based shipping service which — if legalized by the U.S. government — would allow deliveries in 30 minutes or less.
Hosted by ex-Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson, who is set to star in new Amazon programming, the video showcases a drone design which does vertical takeoffs and descents but switches into airplane-style flight mid-transit, with a range of 15 miles. Earlier prototypes used a design more similar to conventional drones, without wings or a tail. The company is said to be working on "different designs for different environments."
Sensors allow the new drone to avoid air- and land-based obstacles. To help narrow down a landing zone, the video shows a shopper placing a small Amazon sign in the middle of her yard as a beacon.
Future shoppers would receive mobile notifications of imminent deliveries. They might also be prompted to authorize landings, or tell drones to wait a minute to make sure the landing area is clear.
Prime Air remains theoretical for the time being, since the company is waiting on commercial drone regulations from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which could be ready within the next year. The video may indeed partly be an attempt to bring politicians and the public on-side with the idea.