Raise your hand if you’ve become spoiled by Amazon’s lightning-fast two-day (and in some locations, one-day) free shipping via Amazon Prime. If you’re anything like me, you’ve become so accustomed to having anything you want at your doorstep in a day or two that you rarely leave the house — which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you look at it. But what about the times when we’re like, “I’m out of Excedrin Migraine and I can’t drive to CVS because I can’t see”? Or, “I have no shoes that match this outfit and I have an interview in an hour”?
Rest easy, fellow online shopaholics, because Amazon Prime Air is here to save the day — and while the company teased the drone-powered service this past November, we now have more details about what it will entail, thanks to an interview with Amazon Vice President for Global Public Policy Paul Misener by founder of YAHOO! Tech David Pogue.
What we already knew is that the service will deliver packages within 30 minutes at a range of over 10 miles, and the drones will weigh less than 55 pounds and fly under 400 feet. But according to the YAHOO! Tech interview, we now know that the drones will be able to deliver packages up to five pounds; as Misener points out, most items sold on Amazon actually fit this criteria. He also notes that Amazon is testing many different drone prototypes, and the Prime Air service is taking into consideration that they have customers in vastly different climates.
“We want to be able to serve all of those customers,” Misener stated. “And it may take a different kind of a drone to best work in each one.”
Misener also gives us some insight into the way the drones will actually work and navigate to their locations, saying the drones will be more akin to horses than cars.
“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. But try riding a horse into the tree,” he said. “It won’t do it. The horse will see the tree and go around it. Same way our drones will not run into trees, because they will know not to run into it.”
Currently, Amazon is working with regulators on issues like safety and airspace details, as well as finalizing the technology to ensure the proper design(s) across all climate/environment types, the drones aren’t too loud, and more. But Misener is optimistic about the service, and says that he hopes the United States is the first country to be able to use it.
“Challenges are there, for sure, but once we demonstrate that this is safe, we’ll be able to take it to the regulators and hopefully deploy it for our customers quickly,” he told YAHOO! Tech. “I’ve seen it. It’s gonna happen. It’s coming.”
Pricing for the Prime Air service, as well as the timeline for its deployment, haven’t been released yet. So in the meantime, we’ll be over here watching the teaser video for the service (see below), as well as going through our list of other science-fiction-y things we could potentially wish into reality. Is there a life-sized BB-8 yet?
(Image via YouTube)