- Amazon/Jordan Stead
- Amazon revealed a new drone at its Re:Mars conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
- The new device can fly up to 15 miles, deliver packages up to 5 pounds, and get deliveries to customers within 30 minutes.
- Amazon said the new drone would be able to make deliveries within 30 minutes.
- First announced in 2013, Prime Air has since been developed in relative secret.
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Amazon customers may soon need to look to the sky to see their Amazon deliveries coming.
The company unveiled its newest drone model built for package delivery at its Re:Mars conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
The new model can fly up to 15 miles and deliver packages as heavy as 5 pounds. It takes off vertically, like a helicopter, but can fly like an airplane once airborne, similar to a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet.
The drone, which does not have a name, will be piloted autonomously using an array of sensors. Customers can expect their deliveries within 30 minutes, the company said. It calls its drone delivery program Prime Air.
“With the help of our world-class fulfillment and delivery network, we expect to scale Prime Air both quickly and efficiently, delivering packages via drone to customers within months,” Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO of worldwide consumer, said in a blog post that accompanied the conference announcement.
Wilke also wrote that sensors on the drone detect obstacles such as wires, chimneys, and paragliders in real time, and it can avoid them using machine learning and advanced artificial intelligence.
- Amazon/Jordan Stead
Jeff Bezos first announced the Prime Air program in 2013 during an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”
It had its first public test in 2016 in Cambridge, England, but Amazon’s drones have gone through a few complete design overhauls in the past six years. Before Wednesday’s announcement, it was not known when drone delivery would become a reality for Amazon.
UPS in March said it beat Amazon to the first revenue-generating drone delivery in the US. It is still unclear when exactly Amazon will make its first non-test revenue-generating drone delivery in the US.