The age of drones is well and truly upon us. Their uses in art, war, and discovery have been moving fast, but their commercial use as delivery-bots has long been hovering around. However, things appear to be on the move again: Amazon has just released a video revealing the closest and freshest look at their drone delivery plans yet – Amazon Prime Air. Oh, and Jeremy Clarkson’s in there, too.
Amazon Prime Air can fly for distances of 24 kilometers (15 miles) at heights of less than 122 meters (400 feet). According to the video, it will be able to deliver orders within 30 minutes or less, provided you're in the right area. In the future, they plan for there to be a “family of Amazon drones – different designs for different environments.”
This design is much different to earlier proposed prototypes. These newer models appear to be a hybrid of the hovering helicopter-like drones that can rise vertically and the more “conventional” airplane-style drones. Although be prepared for this to change, as Amazon said they have 12 different prototype styles being developed at testing sites in America, the United Kingdom and Israel.
Amazon received approval for its drone delivery plans in the United States by the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) in March 2015. However, as WIRED pointed out, flight regulations in the U.K. will make it harder for Amazon Prime Air to roll out in the United Kingdom.
The FAA have estimated there will be 7,500 small commercial drones in the skies above the United States by 2018.