Amazon announced the rollout of its drone delivery in the United States, starting in Lockeford, California. Numerous companies have been experimenting with drone delivery, as the industry inches closer to innovative forms of delivery that were previously thought of as science fiction. Consumer demand for convenience and faster delivery times couple with a worker and driver shortage inspire companies like Amazon to innovate. Since Amazon is such a ubiquitous force that often creates trends in retail, this rollout could mean a near future full of drones in the last mile. The rollout of Prime Air will begin later this year.
- We designed our sense-and-avoid system for two main scenarios: to be safe when in transit, and to be safe when approaching the ground. When flying to the delivery location, the drones need to be able to identify static and moving obstacles. Our algorithms use a diverse suite of technologies for object detection. Using this system, our drone can identify a static object in its path, like a chimney. It can also detect moving objects on the horizon, like other aircraft, even when it’s hard for people to see them. If obstacles are identified, our drone will automatically change course to safely avoid them. As our drone descends to deliver the package into a customer’s backyard, the drone ensures that there’s a small area around the delivery location that’s clear of any people, animals, or other obstacles.
- We’ve worked closely with the FAA and other regulators throughout. Prime Air is one of only three drone-delivery companies that has gone through the rigorous process to earn a FAA air carrier certificate, which will be required to operate drones using these advanced capabilities.
- Once onboarded, customers in Lockeford will see Prime Air-eligible items on Amazon. They will place an order as they normally would and receive an estimated arrival time with a status tracker for their order. For these deliveries, the drone will fly to the designated delivery location, descend to the customer’s backyard, and hover at a safe height. It will then safely release the package and rise back up to altitude.