Online packages are being delivered every day in outstanding numbers all over the world. People make millions of product orders online, and it seems like the delivery service needs an upgrade. There are plenty of companies who are strictly specialized in the delivery service, but the delivery methods are not good enough to get every order in time.
Usually, packages were sent by the postal service or delivery companies using vans, cars, mopeds or planes and boats for oversea transport. However, Amazon is working on a new state of the art delivery system using drones for smaller distance packages. This means that the delivery time will be lowered and customer satisfaction will rise.
Since this is a new and complicated approach we are going to dig deeper into the innovation.
This is not the first time Amazon tried this approach since they are testing the method for the past couple of years. Amazon created a new drone named the “MK27” which is meant to be the safer, more efficient and stable drone for the Prime Air delivery than the previous models as Jeff Bezos the CEO of Amazon pointed out. He also pointed out that Prime Air delivery is going to become our everyday practice within months.
However, back in December 2013, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told the public that drones will be flying around carrying packages to customers within five years. Still, the deadline came and went due to the many regulatory and technical issues they faced such as aircraft and people avoidance. Since Amazon is the first company that came with the idea, they went through hundreds of drone designs and none of them was able to do the job successfully.
The commercial drone use in the U.S is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration which approved Amazon’s prototype drone testing with a special airworthiness certificate. FAA approved Amazon testing on unnamed drones for one year in order to do the research and development.
Amazon is still devoted to making the drone technology that would be capable of delivering packages to customers. Whatever you order, it will arrive in your yard within the same day with Prime Air. Their new drone comes with incredible and innovative features including artificial intelligence that will allow the drone to operate more autonomously.
These drones would have to face many obstacles and environmental changes that could affect the delivery of the package, which is why the new drone could sense these kinds of obstacles while in transit and delay or abort the delivery. This drone sense to avoid technology on commercial drones is usually operated by the pilot, but in Amazon’s case, the drone is equipped with AI as well as machine learning algorithms that can detect and predict unusual obstacles such as people, animals, or even wires.
The design of the new drone is very well done, as we can see in Amazon’s presentation, the drone takes off and lands vertically like a helicopter but flies horizontally like an airplane. The hybrid aircraft is nothing new, but they used the technology without tail-sitter that is designed to keep it stable.
Even though Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos told us that the drones will become the main service of delivery within months, the reality is that this technology is still far from everyday use. It is safe to say that it is not that far away and betting on it to be a reality in a couple of years, it’s safer than betting on the New England Patriots in the NFL odds.
We could see drone deliveries within few years, but the bigger problem would be how to come up with the solution for identifying drones, flying them in urban environments, restrictions, aircraft traffic, thieves hunting down drones. Until then, we expect to see just headlines for Amazon’s progress, but who knows what will the future bring to us, maybe we can see the first drone delivery in our yard sooner than expected.