Back in 2013, Amazon’s chief executive Jeff Bezos announced his plans to eventually deliver small Amazon items directly to people’s homes by drone, according to The New York Times. But instead of high-fiving him and showing support, many people laughed. Because three years ago, automated package delivery via drone seemed farfetched.
But joke’s on the nonbelievers, because it has finally happened!
Bezos tweeted that Amazon had officially made its first commercial drone delivery on December 7th to an Amazon customer in Cambridgeshire, England.
The drone flight took off from a nearby Amazon warehouse. The trip lasted 13 minutes, covered about two miles and navigated to destinations solely by GPS. Amazon says it has developed “sense-and-avoid” technology to help the machines fly around towers, birds and other obstructions.
The customer, identified as Richard B., placed an order for an Amazon Firestick and popcorn, but he received a whole heck of a lot more, according to The New York Times. He’s now a part of history!
Amazon has a large drone-testing plant in Cambridge, and plans on testing drone deliveries with two more customers nearby. If the tests are successful, the number of customers able to participate in the trial could reach the dozens in the next few months.
As incredible as Amazon Prime Air sounds, experts say there could still be some major hiccups in the plans. Aviation rules, weather restrictions, weight limitations on cargo, and the time it would take to manufacture widespread drone deliveries could all pose problems.
But there could also be some serious environmental benefits, like reducing reliance on vehicles, for example. There would also be major benefits for customers. Depending on where customers live, they’ll likely be able to receive their orders even faster than they already do (shout out to Prime same day delivery).
Just imagine — in five years our skies could be filled with drones delivering gifts to humans everywhere.