Amazon deliveries are the norm. But what about Amazon DONE deliveries to your door! So, is Amazon finally close to launching its drone delivery service?
You may have heard about Amazon’s bid to deliver packages to customers using drones instead of delivery drivers in current years. But this project has seen its fair share of obstacles and delays, and many of us forgot about this automated delivery venture altogether.
However, Amazon’s much-anticipated drone delivery program will finally launch this year.
Amazon Prime Air
It’s safe to tell that Amazon drone delivery has been a long time since arriving. The idea of Amazon drone deliveries started in 2013 when the then-CEO Jeff Bezos declared that developments were being made on an episode of 60 Minutes. But it wasn’t until three years later that Prime Air was officially founded, with drone deliveries initially set to start in 2019. Note that Amazon’s air cargo delivery subsidiary was once known as Amazon Prime Air but is now known as Amazon Air and is not affiliated with the Prime Air program.
But delivering thousands of packages a day using drones is no little feat. Considerations involving public safety must be taken. After all, with the huge importance of orders that Amazon ships every day, tens or hundreds of drones could theoretically fly over our heads at any given moment.
The safety element of this possibility held Amazon back for some years, as multiple approvals are required to launch such a venture. For example, Prime Air would require multiple green lights from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as is the case with all companies that wish to deliver products using drones.
- Amazon has already been granted approval from the FAA to test and research its MK27 drone, as well as clearance to operate as a non-scheduled air charter carrier.
A successful trial was conducted in Cambridge, England, with one package being successfully delivered in just 13 minutes. However, during drone testing in the U.S., multiple crashes occurred, with one drone crashing into a field and beginning a fire. So, Amazon certainly had a long way to go in perfecting the drone delivery process, requiring more time for development.
Amazon’s Prime Air is coming back.
Amazon won’t launch Prime Air globally all in one go. Instead, Amazon is beginning small by launching drone deliveries in Lockeford, a small community in San Joaquin County, California.
One could assume that Lockeford has been chosen because it is a small area with a population of just a few thousand, creating it an easier launchpad for Prime Air deliveries. But Amazon has also stated that Lockeford’s history with aviation has played a role in its selection. After all, Weldon B. Cooke, a pioneer aviator who once lived in Lockeford, built several aircraft in the earlier 1900s, contributing to the advancement of the aviation field.
Those who live within Lockeford should start seeing items highlighted as eligible for Prime Air delivery on Amazon once the program launches, permitting the option between a typical or drone delivery. Furthermore, it is thought that only Prime customers will have access to drone delivery.
Amazon has stated that, with this Prime Air launch, they will be “investing in the community, creating new jobs, building partnerships with local organizations, and helping reduce carbon emissions.” So, if this turns out to be the case, Prime Air could prove beneficial, possibly even reducing Amazon’s carbon footprint.
Amazon hasn’t provided an exact launch date for its drone deliveries. We know that deliveries are scheduled to begin “later this year.” So, there’s a chance that we may have to wait another five or six months until the program is officially launched.
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Is Amazon Prime Air Safe?
At the moment, the specifics of Prime Air’s drone deliveries are still a little blurry. We know the basics, but there’s still much to be expected. Of course, the public wants to know whether they’ll be secure in the presence of Amazon’s delivery drones and whether the delivery quality will be able to meet that offered by traditional methods. After all, you don’t want your package dropped in a pond, another garden, or even on another person.
Firstly, Amazon’s Prime Air drones use algorithms designed with “a diverse suite of technologies for object detection,” allowing drones to both avoid collision with other objects, people, or pets, and detect where the free space is located within a customer’s backyard so that packages can be deployed safely.
On top of this, Prime Air will only deliver packages under five pounds, ensuring that drones can successfully transport and dispatch packages, and avoid heavy packages being dropped by drones due to mechanical faults.
Amazon has also stated that the drones will remain a safe distance from customers’ gardens when delivering packages while being close enough to the ground to not damage packages in any way. However, Amazon hasn’t yet specified what this safe height will be.
With so many questions unanswered by Amazon regarding Prime Air, people are uncertain whether it’ll end up being beneficial. With so many potential risks, there’s a chance that the Lockeford launch will ensure that drone deliveries simply aren’t feasible. However, the verdict’s still out on this one, and Prime Air may confirm to be a revolutionary experience.
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