Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Amazon promises 30 minute silent drone deliveries

William Payne
January 20, 2016
 
Amazon has promised to deliver packages in 30 minutes by drone when its Amazon Prime Air service is fully operational. It also promises that its drones will be much quieter than the hobbyist UAVs currently on sale. However the company still faces many challenges, including a rapidly changing regulatory backdrop in the United States.

In a press interview, Amazon's vice president for global public policy Paul Misener provided details about how Amazon Prime Air will operate.

One key issue for Amazon is the size and weight of products that its drone delivery will handle. Amazon sell a wide range of products, many of them far too large or heavy to be carried by the drones that Amazon is envisaging using for delivery.

According to Misener, the weight limit for drone delivery will be five pounds (2.27 kg). The range of delivery will be over ten miles (16 kilometres). That five pound limit means that Amazon drones will be used to deliver most of the things that Amazon sells, as the vast majority of things sold by Amazon weigh less than five pounds.

With a range over ten miles and the ability to carry most of the products sold by Amazon, Misener says that they will become as normal as delivery trucks.

That ten mile plus range clearly makes them most suitable for urban and suburban deliveries, although Amazon has talked about making deliveries to rural farmhouses. However, one challenge for urban drone delivery is how to deliver to appartments within buildings. Amazon does not appear to have an answer for this, although they believe that common areas within buildings such as roofs or courtyards could be used.

Misener revealed that Amazon is working on making drones much quieter. Amazon's delivery drones will have noise dampeners to ensure that they are not too noisy or disruptive, even in quiet neighbourhoods.