If you are a postman, look away now. The future of deliveries is here and it is all about drones. We have been shown in movies that autonomous flying machines are the future. But now it’s close to become reality. Kudos to Amazon, with the aid of Jeremy Clarkson, has received patent for its own Amazon Prime Air drone delivery service. Besides, it also marked the beginning of the trial by delivering its first package to the customers in Cambridge shire in UK last year. Here’s everything you need to grasp.
What are drones?
A drone, technically known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. An Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) consists of a UAV, a ground-based controller, and a system of communications between the two of them. These drones can operate in two ways. One method to handle these drones is by using remote control under a human operator. The other way is by monitoring drone operations autonomously using on-board computers. Amazon Prime Air drone delivery service incorporates this autonomous technology to safely deliver packages within 30 minutes employing on-board computers.
How will the Prime Air delivery vehicles look like?
The Amazon Prime Air drones are a helicopter or airplane hybrid of sorts. They are programmed with the special software to perform certain tasks such as vertical take-off, horizontal flight and so on. These drones can top to an altitude of 100 metres and are capable of hitting speeds close to 100kph. The drones return to base after each delivery for recharging. They are specifically employed to be used as a last resort in the delivery hierarchy, that is,only for emergencies and they are likely to be costly.
At present, Amazon works on more than a dozen different drone designs in the US, UK, Austria and Israel. Each of these drones has varying ranges. Their ability to carry packages of different sizes also varies. However, the look and characteristics of the vehicles will continue to evolve over time for use in different environments.
Does the helipad consumes more space?
Acting as a homing-beacon of sorts for the drone, the Amazon-branded landing mat is used to help guide the drone in and acts as a smooth, safe place for the machine to deposit its payload. The landing pad is so small and lightweight enabling customers to move to a more spacious location. Further, it allows customers to store the mat away when they are not expecting a delivery.
How will it handle air traffic?
As these delivery drones can fly at an altitude up to 335ft, they are out of the way of air crafts. But they come under the zone of prime bird territory. Interestingly, the drones have integrated cameras and sensors, popularly known as Amazon’s ‘sense and avoid’ technology. This empowers the automated flying machines to dodge our feathery friends and other airborne obstructions. Furthermore, integrated GPS and sophisticated navigation tools will put the drone back on track after any unexpected avoidance gimmicks.
How quickly does it deliver parcels?
Waiting for 3 to 5 business days for a parcel delivery is already a matter of the past. Currently, Amazon affords an 1-hour delivery service in a large number of major cities all around the world. However, the online retailer is still not happy with this wait time and claims that Prime Air should make deliveries a near instantaneous affair.
As the drones can clock speeds of up to 60mph, goods can arrive at the customer’s lawn or driveway within 30 minutes of placing an order.
But with a weight limit of five pounds, customers need to think more of purchasing shoes and games rather than sets of weights and new televisions using Amazon Prime Air drone delivery service.
How convenient is the Amazon Prime Air drone delivery service?
The most impressive feature of Amazon Prime Air service is that the accompanying Prime Air app lets the customers to postpone delivery even at the last-minute, if in case an unexpected visitor has just parked in the customer’s drive/landing zone.
In addition to this, the Amazon Prime Air also notifies the customers when their package takes to the skies and also there will be a timer counting down the seconds to delivery.
What are the struggles for Amazon Prime Air drone delivery service to take off?
Ingenious Express analysis found that the major stumbling block for the take off of Amazon Prime Air delivery drones is mainly due to the complications in the landing space needed for the autonomous flying machines. These drones have to make a controlled landing in a nicely spacious area. And so the city-dwellers and those living in blocks of flats would face more issues.
In addition to this, obstacles such as telephone wires and narrow streets, the lack of a private landing area could also prove problematic. For instance, consider the complexities of parcel delivery to the mass-inhabited building. In these cases there are chances for drone-tracking crook to commandeer as abandoned package, while the customer takes some time to get down to the communal courtyard to receive the parcel.
Ingenious Express analysis also signified that these drones, similar to the smart phones or wearable, have a performance-restricting flaw that is the battery life.
Another potential problem for the airborne devices is that the debut drone featured just a 15 mile range. This means that it takes 7.5 miles for delivering the parcel to the customer and the same for returning to the distribution center. Our analysis doubts the feasibility of long-distance parcel deliveries flying out of line of sight using drones.
If Amazon’s drones are going to fly out of line of sight, regulations aren’t in place. At the same time, Amazon has caveat-ed its big unveil on January of this year by stating it “will not launch Prime Air until we are able to demonstrate safe operations”. Let’s hope Amazon would soon bring us one step closer to realizing this amazing innovation.