Amazon executive sheds light on drone delivery programme

The company has laid out plans for its drone delivery system, which could see packages delivered in less than 30 minutes

Paul Wisener and other officials give testimony on consumer drone technology to the House Oversight Committee. There are a number of regulatory hurdles for Amazon and other firms to overcome before drone delivery systems become a practical reality

Amazon has flirted with the prospect of drones shipping orders directly to customers for some time, but while excitement about the proposal has been high, details about the programme have been in short supply – until now.

In a recent interview with Yahoo Tech, Amazon’s Vice President of Global Public Policy, Paul Misener, explained how the company has finally set some goals for its drone delivery programme: “The goals we’ve set for ourselves are: the range has to be over 10 miles. These things will weigh about 55 pounds each, but they’ll be able to deliver parcels that weigh up to five pounds. It turns out that the vast majority of the things we sell at Amazon weigh less than five pounds.”

Amazon’s drones are much more sophisticated than standard store-bought ones

The future delivery service will be called Prime Air and Misener confirmed Amazon is aiming for the packages to reach their final destination within 30 minutes or less of the item being ordered on online. He was unable to provide any details about how much the service will cost customers, explaining it is still in the early stages of development and pricing is yet to be figured out.

Amazon’s drones are much more sophisticated than standard store-bought ones; they will be fitted with ‘sense-and-avoid technology’ in order to ensure packages arrive at customers’ doors in one piece.

“These drones are more like horses than cars”, said Misener. “If you have a small tree in your front yard, and you want to bang your car into it for some reason, you can do that. But try riding a horse into the tree. It won’t do it. The horse will see the tree and go around it. Same way our drones will not run into trees, because they will know not to run into it.”

There are still a lot of regulatory hurdles to overcome before Amazon Prime Air can get off the ground, but the interview affirmed the company’s commitment to a drone delivery system.

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