The e-commerce giant on Wednesday unveiled its latest design for the Prime Air drone, which can fly up to 15 miles, deliver in 30 minutes and carry items weighing up to 5 pounds.
Amazon said Wednesday it expects to begin “delivering packages via drone to customers within months.”
The company unveiled it latest Prime Air drone design that day at its re:MARS (Machine Learning, Automation, Robotics and Space) Conference in Las Vegas. The fully electric drones can fly up to 15 miles, deliver in 30 minutes and carry items that weigh up to 5 pounds, said Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer.
“While 5 pounds may not sound like a lot, it represents between 75 and 90% of the packages that Amazon delivers to its customers today,” he said.
The drones will use proprietary computer vision and machine learning algorithms to detect moving objects and sensors and algorithms to avoid static objects while in transit. The drones need a small area around the delivery zone clear of people, animals or obstacles, which is determined “using explainable stereo vision in parallel with sophisticated AI algorithms trained to detect people and animals from above,” Amazon said.
“From paragliders to power lines to a corgi in the backyard, the brain of the drone has safety covered,” Wilke said.
Amazon did not specify the timing or where the drones will be making deliveries.
The Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates the commercial use of drones in the U.S., said Wednesday it “issued a Special Airworthiness Certificate to Amazon Prime Air allowing the company to operate its MK27 unmanned aircraft for research and development and crew training in authorized flight areas.
“Amazon Prime Air plans to use the aircraft to establish a package delivery operation in the United States,” the administration said in the statement. “This certificate is valid for one year and is eligible for renewal.”