Amazon has officially started delivering orders by drone under their new Amazon Prime Air. Amazon’s Drone deliveries are now operating in two cities, Lockeford in the state of California and College Station in Texas, and will only deliver a few packages just in time for the end-of-the-year holidays.
The retail giant finally received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States of America to use drones for package deliveries earlier in August this year. The maximum payload for deliveries using Prime Air is 5 pounds or 2.25 kilograms, about 85 percent of all Amazon’s shipments.
Residents of both towns now have the option to sign up for the service. Once they do, Amazon will confirm whether the company can deliver safely to the customer’s address. Once a customer places an order, the customer gets an estimated delivery time and tracking info.
“The drone will fly to the designated delivery location, descend to the customer’s backyard, and hover at a safe height,” Amazon said. “It will safely release the package and rise back to altitude.”
“We want to take our drones up into the air securely,” said Natalie Banke, an Amazon Air representative, in a statement released to the media. “We are starting in these locations(Lockeford, California and College Station, Texas) and will progressively extend delivery to additional customers over time.”
The MK27-2 delivery drone that Amazon uses has a hexagonal shape and six propellers to reduce high-frequency sound emissions. The company’s primary focus right now is on safe travel. While Amazon is presently monitoring deliveries and has appointed human operators to keep track of each of these drones, the aim is for the drones to fly independently while utilizing algorithms to avoid hazards like electrical wires and chimneys, just like a flying electric car with complete autonomy would.