Amazon completes its first delivery by drone, starts beta testing


About three years ago, Amazon first told the world that it wanted to deliver goods to your home with a flying drone. What might have seemed like a crazy idea back then is slowly beginning to take form. Just last week, Amazon announced it had made its first drone-powered shipment and is beginning beta testing in Cambridge.

If you weren’t sure whether Amazon was being serious about delivering by drones, now you know. The first Prime Air package was sent out on December 7th. According to Amazon, it took 13 minutes from order to delivery for the done to arrive. And it did so without a pilot.

The actual process also looks pretty neat. As shown in the Amazon announcement video, the drone is first sitting in its base under a roof, where it attaches itself to the package. Then, it travels on rails for a bit, to get under the open sky where it flies off. Amazon says this marks the beginning of their beta test in the Cambridge area and they will use data and feedback to push Amazon Prime Air to other markets.

There are obvious limitations to drone delivery right now. For one, Amazon says its drones will only fly in favorable weather conditions – rain, snow or ice will keep the drones out of the clouds. And testing them in the wide green fields of Cambridge shown in the video is going to very different than big, crowded cities. On the other hand, the company is well aware of that and is still spending resources on developing this new tech. The company believes that “one day, seeing Prime Air vehicles will be as normal seeing mail trucks on the road.” Ambitious? Yes. Still pretty cool? Oh yes!

Pic: ©AJEL
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