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Amazon Prime Air Starts Drone Deliveries in California and Texas

Amazon has announced that it has begun making drone deliveries is California and Texas. After receiving approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and local officials, it has launched its delivery service in Lockeford, California and will build it based on customer feedback. Lockeford is a rural town about 100 miles east of San Francisco, with an estimated population of about 3,500. Amazon also has some facilities in the city's San Joaquin County.

Lockeford residents will soon be able to sign up for drone deliveries for free. Amazon has been working with a goal of a five-pound (2.25kg) payload, which may sound small but represents 85% of Amazon deliveries. For comparison, Walmart's drone delivery service claims up to three pounds (1.35 kg), and Alphabet's Wing can carry 2.5 lbs (1.14 kg).

After placing an order for a delivery drone, the customers will get an estimated time arrival and status tracker and the aim is for deliveries in under 60 minutes. The drone will fly to the designated delivery location, descend to the customer's backyard, and hover at a safe height, before releasing the package and rising back up to altitude. Prime Air is different from the competing drone delivery services that use parachutes and long tethers. Amazon's drone will hover at a close distance (six feet) before lowering its package.

The drone, leverages a hexagonal shape that provides six-degrees of freedom, giving it more stability. It also has propellers designed to minimize high-frequency sound waves. In terms of safety, Amazon claims that the issue is covered with a "sense-and-avoid system."




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