Amazon testing automated drone delivery for 2015 service
In an interview on Sunday, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos revealed plans to develop a drone delivery service by 2015.
The drones, called Octocopters, will be able to carry packages weighing up to 2.3 kg and deliver them to customers within 30 minutes of them placing their order.“I know this looks like science fiction, but it’s not,” said Mr Bezos.“One day, Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today,” he added.
The service, called Amazon Prime Air, will be ready and available in the US by 2015. Amazon, however, has already posted a video on YouTube showing how the service will work. The video shows a package being pulled off the lines by an Octocopter and then, using GPS, it is directed to the delivery address.
Despite the video showing the entire process, many questions are still left unanswered.
For the service to be launched, Amazon will have to guarantee the absolute security of the goods during the transit to minimise the risk of injuring people, especially in densely populated towns and cities where drones are currently not authorised to fly.
The main question, however, remains whether Amazon will get the necessary permissions from US regulators. At the moment the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the use of drones for police and government agencies, issuing about 1,400 permits over the past several years. Civilian air space, however, is still closed to all kinds of drones, both in the US and in Europe.
On this matter, Amazon released a statement on the company’s website, saying: “From a technology point of view, we’ll be ready to enter commercial operations as soon as the necessary regulations are in place. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is actively working on rules for unmanned aerial vehicles.”
Photos: Sean MacEntee