A couple of years ago, Amazon was in the news for testing its drone prototype aimed to change the way deliveries are made. With drone delivery in the news, several other companies like Dominos Pizza and DHL started testing the feasibility and practicability of catering to customers using drone technology.
Delivering Goods Using Drones
With drone delivery becoming a buzz word across the world, Amazon has been working on a family of drones for different environments and purposes since the past 2 years. One of its primary prototypes is the Amazon Prime Air, expected to be released in 2017.
Part Helicopter, Part Plane
Amazon Prime Air is part helicopter, part airplane. Unlike the previous prototypes, the Amazon Prime Air drone isn’t just a quadcopter any longer; it has 8 propellers and hence works as an octocopter. While it still takes off and lands vertically, the Amazon Prime Air switches to a regular horizontal flight mode, enabling it to travel more efficiently and in an agile manner. With this new improved design, the drone can cover over a distance of 15 miles and fly over 55 mph.
- With Amazon Prime Air, people can buy the products of their choice on the Amazon website through their smartphone and tablet and have it delivered in 30 minutes or less.
- The Amazon Prime Air runs like a helicopter up to 400 feet.
- Its hybrid design uses horizontal orientation and becomes a streamlined and fast airplane that can fly for 15 miles.
- The Amazon Prime Air has a built-in sensor technology called ‘sense and avoid’ that detects and automatically avoids obstacles on the ground and in the air.
- While mid-air, the Amazon Prime Air gets updates about the delivery time and displays important flight data like speed and elevation along with the direction in which it is travelling.
- As soon as the Amazon Prime Air nears the destination, the shopper at home gets an update on his smart informing him about the arrival of the package.
- During landing, the drone goes into a vertical mode and scans the landing area for potential hazards.
- Users can mark a spot in their backyard with an Amazon logo for getting their package delivered.
- The Amazon Prime Air then lowers itself slowly to the ground, drops off the package on the marked area and flies straight back up to altitude.
Enabling a Fun Shopping Experience
While smartphones and tablets have led to the massive success of ecommerce websites and online shopping, getting goods delivered through drones is going be the future of logistics. With Amazon Prime Air, shoppers can simply log on to the Amazon website, select the product of their choice and have the product delivered in their backyard. With a promise of good delivery in less than 30 minutes, people no longer need drive to retail stores or stand in queues for paying for their products but rather enjoy a delightful shopping experience from the comfort of their homes.
Aiming for a Bright Future
With Amazon generating roughly $60 billion in revenue across US, and with 86% of Amazon deliveries under the 5-pound weight limit, there is a huge scope for a large percentage of Amazon deliveries through the use of drones. By investing around $50 million onto the project, and with each drone costing approximately $2000, Amazon aims to reduce the overall spending on transportation, including costs such as delivery trucks and staff in the long run and enjoy substantial benefit thereafter. Moreover, with Amazon Prime Air, Amazon intends to enable quick delivery of goods that will also increase the overall safety and efficiency of the transportation system.