Explore 'What is Prime Air?' to learn about Amazon's innovative drone delivery system, designed to revolutionize e-commerce and transform the way goods reach customers.
Amazon heavily invests in innovations and technologies that can increase delivery speeds and improve its customers' and employees' experience. With its wide range of solutions like Amazon Prime, shopping on Amazon is becoming a more enjoyable experience. One of the talking points of Amazon's innovations is Prime Air.
When Amazon first came up with Prime Air in 2016, it aimed to transform how it delivered packages. Through Prime Air, Amazon hoped it would fulfill customer orders in less than 30 minutes using an autonomous delivery system. So, what is Prime Air? And when will Amazon Prime Air start? Keep reading this article to learn more.
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What is Prime Air?
Prime Air is a drone delivery service developed by Amazon to deliver packages to customers. This service will involve small drones that deliver packages up to five pounds in less than an hour. While Amazon hasn't launched it yet, it is moving steps closer to using drones to drop off customers' orders. First announced in 2016, Prime Air is an initiative by Amazon to improve customer experience by fulfilling orders within the shortest time possible.
How Will Prime Air Work?
Amazon has been working tirelessly to make drone delivery a reality. Some of the challenges that have delayed the launch of this project include how to get items to customers quickly, cost-effectively, and safely and how to build the network so that Amazon can deliver to customers across large communities.
However, by running vigorous tests, Amazon is in the final phase of building fully electric drones to deliver packages. Using this technology will significantly transform Amazon's logistics and delivery system.
According to Amazon, customers will place their orders as they usually do to access Prime Air services. When placing an order for eligible items, the Prime Air 30-minute delivery option will appear as a yellow button above the add to cart button.
After checking out, you'll receive your package's eligible arrival time and status tracker. Your package will be placed beneath the drone in a durable safety container. The drone will then be launched to its delivery destination. After arriving at its destination, the drone will descend, deliver the package into a customer's backyard and return to Amazon's warehouses.
Prime Air is meant to supplement Amazon's existing delivery system. Therefore, Amazon will still use its large fleet of delivery vehicles with autonomous delivery drones offering a faster way of delivering packages.
How Will Amazon Ensure Prime Air Drones Are Safe?
Safety is one of the major concerns with Amazon Prime Air Drone delivery. Amazon is required to create a drone delivery system that complies with all aviation regulations and can maintain safe distances from other aircraft and obstacles.
To ensure safety, Amazon is developing drones with a sophisticated sense and avoidance system to guide them in making deliveries without a visual observer.
When flying to the delivery destination and back, the drone uses a sense-and-avoid system to identify and avoid static objects like chimneys and moving obstacles like aircraft. If detected, the drone will automatically change its course to avoid these obstacles safely.
At the delivery destination, Prime Air drones will also scan the area around to ensure that it's clear of any people, animals, or other obstacles.
Amazon also limits the weight of products to five pounds and ensures that they are well-protected and firmly attached beneath the aircraft.
To ensure it complies with regulations, the Federal Aviation Administration granted Amazon a Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate in August 2020 to allow it to implement its drone delivery system in the US and worldwide.
What Will Prime Air Vehicles Look Like?
Since the program was launched, Amazon has been testing and revealing a wide variety of delivery-drone designs. It aims to develop drones that can deliver both in cities and rural areas. The most critical aspects of Amazon drones are safety, efficiency, and stability. That's why Amazon is regularly testing and improving its drone designs to ensure it meets aerospace standards.
Generally, Amazon Prime Air drones will have the following major components:
- The body: As seen in designs released by Amazon, the drones will be square in shape and have four legs with the Amazon branding across their body. They will also have a protective covering beneath them where the packages will be placed.
- The brain: Using an AI-based sense and avoidance system, the aircraft can detect and avoid both moving and stationary obstacles. This system will also help them automatically make safe decisions when encountering new and unexpected situations.
Amazon has logged thousands of flight hours and regularly tests and evaluates its drones. Therefore, it assures its customers that Prime Air will be as reliable as its current delivery system. However, Amazon will be required to upgrade its fulfillment centers to accommodate drone delivery operations.
When Will Amazon Prime Air Start?
After years of development announcements, Amazon finally made a huge step into starting Prime Air. It plans on launching its drone delivery service in at least two locations in 2022.
In an official statement, Amazon announced that it would launch Prime Air services by the end of 2022. Amazon customers in Lockeford, California, will be among the first to receive Prime Air services. By working with the FAA and Lockeford's local officials, Amazon is determined to ensure that its customers can start using drone deliveries.
Amazon relies on the feedback of its customer in Lockeford to shape the future of Prime Air. Their experience will help Amazon improve Prime Air to meet its customer's needs before scaling it to other areas.
Amazon will still use its standard delivery system to deliver orders to most of its customers. While Prime Air is an excellent and convenient technology, safety measures and regulations have made it a complex idea to implement. However, Amazon's team of scientists, engineers, aerospace professionals, and futurists are working tirelessly to make Prime Air available as soon as possible.
Prime Air is Amazon's initiative to fulfill orders in less than one hour using drones. Carrying packages of at most five pounds, these drones will fly to the designated delivery location, descend to the customer's backyard and safely drop off the package before rising back up and heading back to fulfillment centers. Despite the many concerns about automated drone deliveries, Amazon is doing everything possible to make the service a reality. It could possibly launch the service to its Lockeford customers before the end of the year.
Amazon is a few steps away from revolutionizing the logistics industry with its 30-minute Prime Air drone delivery system.