Amazon Prime Air first teased us with its drone delivery service three years ago. Now Prime Air is making deliveries in the UK.
On December 7, 2016, Amazon Prime Air made its first drone delivery, flying an Amazon Fire TV and a bag of popcorn to a customer in Cambridgeshire, England. Amazon says the entire process, from the time the order was made online to the time the package arrived at the customer’s home, took 13 minutes.
Amazon is working with only two shoppers on the drone delivery tests, but it expects to expand the trial to hundreds of shoppers who live within a few miles of its first Prime Air fulfillment center around Cambridge.
Based off the video, it looks like Amazon Prime Air customers will need a small landing pad in their yard that the delivery drone will recognize.
According to Amazon, the current test customers can place orders seven days a week. However, Amazon Prime Air delivery drones can only fly during daylight hours and when the weather is good to fly in. The drones, which look a little different than Amazon Prime Air’s previous versions, can carry up to 5 lbs and will make deliveries in 30 minutes or less.
The UK trial is small at the moment, but it’s been in the works for a while and shows how serious Amazon is about drone delivery. Amazon also says it has Prime Air development centers in the United States, Austria and Israel.
Amazon also says that “one day, seeing Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road.”
The delivery robot race is heating up, of course, so Amazon has many competitors. That’s why we’ve made delivery robots a major focus at the CES Robotics Conference, which takes place January 6, 2017 from 9 AM to 12:30 PM at CES. The “Delivery Robots Knocking at Your Door” panel will explore how drones and autonomous mobile robots are transforming home delivery and emergency medical response. Ahti Heinla of Starship Technologies, Helen Greiner of CyPhy Works and Steve Cousins of Savioke will discuss developments, the need for continued testing and how to overcome regulatory and technical challenges.
We hope to see you there!