Amazon’s new Prime Air delivery drone features hybrid design

CREDIT Janko Roettgers  Variety

By the end of this year, customers in the U.S. and some advanced could receive Amazon orders delivered by a drone. But Amazon is hoping to use these devices to get customers items that weigh five pounds or less in about 30 minutes, helping it deliver products to shoppers much faster.

Amazon demonstrated its drone delivery service at the re:MARS conference in Las Vegas. It supports both vertical and horizontal takeoffs and landings like a helicopter and an airplane.

Amazon said Wednesday that it plans to use self-piloted drones to deliver packages to shoppers' home in the coming months. These drones are part of the company's Prime Air program which the company has been testing in multiple global locations through its development centers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Austria, France and Israel. The drone will also require "a small area around the delivery location that is clear of people, animals, or obstacles" in order to land-which makes, say, an apartment in a busy city pretty out of the question unless you are fortunate to have some type of helipad situation.

"The distinctive aircraft is controlled with six degrees of freedom, as opposed to the standard four".

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a certificate to Amazon Prime Air on Wednesday, allowing the company to operate its MK27 unmanned aircraft for package deliveries, the federal agency said in a statement.

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The FAA has given Amazon a one year approval, eligible for renewal, for research and testing, though not for commercial deliveries.

The autopilot, which evaluates all of the sensor data was developed in-house Amazon. But the upcoming Prime Air program will likely start off as a small-scale trial.

"StyleSnap, an AI-powered feature, helps you shop - all you need to do is take a photograph or screenshot of a look that you like", Amazon noted in a blog post.

On that last topic, Mr Bezos said he wanted to provide foundational space technology for start-ups to build on for low cost, noting that Amazon was only possible because it was able to distribute through the US Postal Service.

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