Amazon has released a video of its first delivery using its groundbreaking new Prime Air delivery system that promises fast delivery to customers in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles (drones).
Amazon says that Prime Air has great potential to enhance the services the company already provides to millions of customers with a rapid parcel delivery that it claims increase the overall safety and efficiency of the transportation system.
On December 1, 2013, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed plans for Amazon Prime Air in an interview on 60 Minutes.
Amazon Prime Air will use multi-rotor Miniature Unmanned Air Vehicle technology to autonomously fly individual packages to customers’ doorsteps within 30 minutes of ordering.
However to qualify for the service, the order must be less than five pounds (2.26 kg), must be small enough to fit in the cargo box that the craft will carry, and must have a delivery location within a ten-mile radius of a participating Amazon order fulfillment center.
According to Amazon 86% of packages sold by company fit the weight qualification of the program.
Presently, the biggest hurdle facing Amazon Prime Air is that commercial use of UAV technology is not yet legal in the United States.
In the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Congress issued the Federal Aviation Administration a deadline of September 30, 2015 to accomplish a “safe integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system.”
In March 2015 the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted Amazon permission to begin US testing of a prototype. The company responded by claiming that the vehicle cleared for use was obsolete.
In April 2015, the agency allowed the company to begin testing its current models. In the interim, the company had begun testing at a secret Canadian site 2,000 ft (610 m) from the US border.
The agency mandated that Amazon’s drones fly no higher than 400 ft (122 m), no faster than 100 mph (161 km/h), and remains within the pilot’s line of sight.
Amazon hopes to operate in a slice of airspace above 200 ft (61 m) and beneath 500 ft (152 m), with 500 ft being where general aviation begins.
Public concerns regarding this technology include public safety, privacy, and package security issues. Amazon states that “Safety will be our top priority, and our vehicles will be built with multiple redundancies and designed to commercial aviation standards.”