Amazon first announced that their small packages could be delivered by drones from Amazon Prime Air in December 2013. The ambitious implementation plan was predicting first flights for the service by the end of 2015.
This video featuring Jeremy Clarkson was put on YouTube in November 2015 and last time I looked had over 6,295,000 views. So the public’s interest in Amazon and their aerial drone delivery is very strong.
The Air regulations in the U.S. and the UK had a few major issues with this plan, which are ongoing. Now in May 2016 the 30-minute or less Amazon drone dispatch for the football boots that Jeremy talks about looks a long way off.
The Aviation authorities have taken the view that Unmanned Aircraft Systems should be subject to similar compliance and supervision as manned aviation.
So there are many regulatory and technical problems to be solved before Amazon Prime Air becomes airborne, despite Amazon’s size, influence and corporate muscle.
The idea of a fleet of unwatched drones being released into airspace is unlikely.
Amazon claim they will operate safely beyond line of sight to distances of 10 miles or more.
The launch of the DJI Phantom 4 has shown that drone ‘Sense and Avoid” proximity sensors to stop the UAV flying into a wall or tree, do work, and are now becoming part of mainstream drone technology.
This was one of the problems highlighted when Amazon Prime Air were showing their drones landing in customer designated back yards surrounded by fences trees and other drone crashing objects.
Another issue was the possibility of the delivery drones being hacked, flown and landed into someone else’s garden.
Simple human theft of drone packages and the actual drones is another hot issue. Would Amazon Prime Air have no fly zones so they don’t fly into bad neighborhoods’. In these “no go” areas an Amazon drone could become a respect trophy, taking pride of place in the thief’s house.
Camera’s on drones are now common place, so in addition to the customer to the SMS mobile delivery alerts, will Amazon take aerial images or video footage of each delivery to help with the obvious disputes of – It was never delivered, it did not land here.
I am sure this is not just a brilliant marketing ploy by Amazon they have invested very substantial sums of money into Amazon Prime Air.
They have drone development centres in the Untied States, United Kingdom, Israel and Austria. Here is the link to read Amazon’s airspace proposals.
Their current corporate strategy for delivery is to set up their own delivery service called Amazon Logistics with staff, vehicles to take over and reduce the use of third party carriers like UPS and Royal Mail.
Amazon say they do not want to replace the 45 carriers they currently work with, but compliment their service as they move into fast delivery. Since Amazon Logistic launched in the UK two years ago they now have two sorting centres and 13 delivery hubs.
This commentary and post was written by Roy Horton Drone Photography Services. Check out our other posts HERE.