Amazon announces that after nearly a decade of research, it will now begin to deliver packages via drone.
The latest drone model, MK27-2, will deliver packages from 12 feet in the air after scanning whether it can safely drop them below.
Prime Air began testing drone delivery in 2013. However, after making a single drone delivery in 2016, they had issues with high turnover and crashes during product testing.
The Federal Aviation Administration approved Amazon to operate the drones in August 2020.
Calsee Hendrickson, who leads product and program management for the Prime Air drone program, said to CNBC Thursday that the company will begin to deliver via drones in College Station, Texas, and Lockeford, California, by the end of this year.
“If the drone encounters another aircraft when it’s flying, it’ll fly around that other aircraft. If, when it gets to its delivery location, your dog runs underneath the drone, we won’t deliver the package,” said Hendrickson.
Henrickson also commented that the drones always have an “operator in command overseeing the entire airspace.” It also travels at a max of 50 mph.
The drone can only carry packages weighing less than five pounds and fit in a small box slightly bigger than a shoe box.
The packaging is also special because the items must be dropped twelve feet. Hendrickson commented that testing showed that the “integrity of the product is still intact after delivery.”
Amazon says thousands of items are eligible for drone delivery, a small percentage of the vast assortment available on its marketplace.
On Thursday, Amazon also announced the next model, the MK30, which will be completed in 2024.
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