Amazon debuts its new delivery drone, says it will begin operation 'within months'
Amazon debuted its newest delivery drone at its re:MARS conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
Jeff Wilke, CEO of the company’s worldwide consumer division, revealed onstage at the conference that Amazon has created a new, electric delivery drone that should be used “within months” to deliver packages to customers. The drones can carry packages under 5 pounds to customers within a half-hour and can fly up to 15 miles, according to Wilke.
He also explained that the company is investing heavily in artificial intelligence to help drones navigate safely to their destinations, and drop off packages safely. Detecting telephone wires, people, property and even small animals on the ground all require careful sensing and collision avoidance systems.
The drone reveal followed an earlier presentation by Brad Porter, vice president of Amazon Robotics, on Pegasus and Xanthus drive robots. Amazon is now using these robots to sort and move packages and inventory within warehouses and delivery centers.
“We sort billions of packages a year. The question is, how do you do it quickly and accurately?” Porter said.
Given the company’s offer of Prime one-day deliveries, accuracy is tantamount to fulfilling promises to customers, he said. The new Pegasus robots have helped reduce mis-sorting of packages by more than 50 percent compared with the systems Amazon was using before, he said.
The drone is also part of Amazon’s plan to make half of its shipments net zero carbon by 2030, and eventually expand that commitment across all of its shipments, Amazon said in the blog post. The electric drone can be charged in a sustainable way and is more energy efficient that delivering packages in a car, the company said.