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Amazon Prime Drone: Here's What To Expect About This Future Delivery Program

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When Amazon revealed its plan to use automated drones to deliver packages, many customers became concerned about how the company will guarantee the safety of their orders.

Amazon responded by releasing a video last December that shows how its delivery drones would look like and how they would be operated to bring packages to customers' homes.

Now, the e-commerce company is unveiling more details regarding its Amazon Prime Air delivery system.

During an interview, Paul Misener, Amazon's vice president of global public policy, said that the idea behind their drone delivery system is to have packages brought to customers within 30 minutes after an order has been placed.

He explained that their delivery drones will have a flight range of more than 10 miles, and despite weighing in at about 55 pounds themselves, they will still be able to carry parcels of up to 5 pounds.

Misener said most of Amazon's products are well within the 5-pound limit on the drones' payload.

To prevent collision during deliveries, Amazon's drones have been fitted with sense-and-avoid technology that allows them to detect potential obstacles. Misener compared this feature to the ability of horses to perceive objects in their paths.

"If you have a small tree in your front yard, and you want to bang your car into it for some reason, you can do that. Your spouse might not be happy with you, but you can do it" the Amazon executive said.

"But try riding a horse into the tree. It won't do it. The horse will see the tree and go around it."

This feature is one of the things that set the Amazon drones apart from other automated drones made by tech companies such as Yuneec and DJI.

Misener added that Amazon is also trying out multiple prototypes of the drones simultaneously to find out which designs are more suitable for specific environments.

When asked if the new drone delivery system would cost more or less compared to conventional courier methods, Misener said they have yet to price the service.

While many anticipate the launch of the Amazon Prime Air delivery system, some observers believe Amazon would have to go through several technical and regulatory hurdles before it can get it off the ground.

The company will also face stiff competition from other industry players. DHL has started testing its fleet of "parcelcopters", while Walmart said that it plans to launch drones of its own.

In July, Amazon came up with ways to regulate the type of commercial drone operation that it plans to get involved in. Based on the company's suggestion, the U.S. government would have to designate a 200-foot-high portion of the sky to be used by automated drones during deliveries.

Misener reiterated that Amazon is still pushing for this concept, stating that both the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and NASA support the thinking that had gone into it.

It is still uncertain when the Amazon Prime Air delivery system would be given regulatory approval.

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