In its quest for product deliveries faster than a single day, Amazon’s Prime Air division unveiled a new delivery drone that can fly up to 15 miles on a charge and deliver packages under five pounds to customers in less than 30 minutes. Looking somewhat similar to a Star Wars TIE Fighter, the delivery giant’s latest drone was unveiled this week at the re:MARS Conference (Machine Learning, Automation, Robotics and Space) in Las Vegas.
Amazon’s 20-year vet Jeff Wilke said in a blog post that it aims to scale its Prime Air service “both quickly and efficiently” to deliver packages via drone to customers within the coming months—not years.
The craft is a hybrid that’s both like a helicopter and a plane, with the ability to do vertical takeoffs and landings that are sure to scare dogs and conspiracy theorists from coast to coast. It has the ability to be controlled with “six degrees of freedom, as opposed to the standard four,” and is reportedly more stable and can fly safer in high-wind conditions than previous drones.
Answering his own question about what this new drone means to drone delivery at large, Wilke said it can identify static and moving objects and react accordingly using computer-vision and machine learning algorithms. This is especially critical in determining a safe, harmless place to land in yards that have many obstacles like electrical wires, drying clothes and terrified canines.
Today, most of us run to the store because we need an item now,” Wilke added. “With a service like Prime Air, we’ll be able to order from home and stay home. This saves tremendously on fuel usage and reduces emissions.”