Updated: Feb 24
During the Re:MARS 2019 conference in Las Vegas, Amazon unveiled its latest prototype drone for Prime Air package deliveries to its customers. It is a hybrid aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing like a helicopter, and horizontal flying capability like a plane achieved by shifting its six propellers. This design makes the drone faster and more energy efficient. Amazon has also been working on the vision and navigation system of the drone to improve its safety thanks to a combination of thermal cameras, depth cameras and sonar to detect hazards and protect customers during the delivery. The drone is fully electric and can fly up to 15 miles (25 km) to deliver packages of up to 5 pounds (2.27 kg) in less than 30 minutes. This payload means that the drone can fulfill 75-90% of Amazon’s orders. The firm announced that it will make its first drone delivery “within months” but it is still waiting for its FAA approval, unlike Google’s Wing which became FAA approved in April 2019. The drone will also be a key part of Amazon’s commitment to make half of its shipments carbon neutral by 2030.