By Gaurav Pradhan
Amazon is trying to disrupt the entire logistics chain by their idea of door delivery through their drones, despite facing regulatory road blocks, mainly from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). But they have come up with a new prototype. So what has changed? Will the new prototype be the lucky bird for Amazon, making their dream true?
New Buzzing Prime Air Drone – Another Prototype
Amazon is yet again in news as they have disclosed their new delivery drones, Prime Air prototypes. In my earlier article, Prime Air prototype drone was a quadcopter. But now they have come up with a new prototype, which looks more like a box-carrying aircraft.
They are hopeful for continuing their test flights with this new prototype, preparing for the upcoming comprehensive rules & regulations for drone flight by FAA. They are not the only one who are waiting so eagerly – other big players like Walmart & Google are also looking to harness this segment with their products.
Prime Air Drone Features
Prime Air Drones are flying with a vision of making delivery possible in 30 minutes – from fulfillment center to your door. Designed for vertical ascend and horizontal flight, this aerial drone can carry up to 5 pounds and they can have a maximum flight altitude of 400 meters. Prime Air drones relies on sensors powered with ‘Sense and Avoid’ technology which help them steer clear from any possible obstacle coming in their identified delivery flight route.
While approaching the destination, the drones are capable of scanning and identifying a clear landing spot. Once it gets identified, the drones can descend, drop the package safely and once again get back in air.
Challenges to Flight
Amazon is trying hard to make their logistic revolution dream a success, but there are many challenges which they have to conquer on the way of conquest.
Heavy Duty Performance: Amazon has to make sure that Drones will perform their tasks and making multiple trips to-and-fro fulfillment center, making the entire chain more effective and efficient.
Full Proof Delivery Flights: Amazon needs to ensure that their drones are capable of making safe delivery flights, managing direction and altitude based on the potential objects they would face on the way. Amazon also needs to ensure the safety in terms of package deliver and their own drones which are susceptible to external intervention.
Managing Delivery Points: Amazon will have to face another challenge of user delivery point identification. Based on the type of house the customer lives in, the drones will have to reconfigure their landing methodology. Drones will have to manage landing in someone’s door step, lawn, roof etc.
Weather: Weather will have great impact on Drones and these will be experiencing those changes and hence Amazon will have to find out ways of either making Drones weather proof or to find alternative delivery methods in extreme weather conditions.
Delivery Time: This is the most lucrative feature expected by all people. Drones will ensure to try reaching within stipulated time. But we need to understand the customer dynamics related to this delivery. Will Amazon’s Drones wait till the customer picks up the package or they will drop the package in the identified location and fly away to fulfill other orders.
Future for Prime Air
As we are seeing a good amount of progress in this space by Amazon, it is obvious that Amazon will be able to sort out issues and come up with Prime Air drones actually doing deliveries. But yes, this will take time. There is scope of testing and enhancements to be made. This might also become a platform for other players to come up with their product and refine the products based incremental increase in technology.
For now, Amazon is keeping fingers crossed and would be humming these words – ‘Miles to go before I fly’
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