Amazon Shows Off Latest Prime Air Delivery Drone Prototype In New Video

Two years after Amazon debuted its delivery drone to the masses, the e-commerce giant is back with a new demo video showing the company’s latest prototype for its Prime Air unmanned aerial vehicle.

Amazon enlisted British broadcaster Jeremy Clarkson — known for his former gig co-hosting TV show Top Gear — to narrate a scene depicting the company’s vision of the delivery future: when your “naughty, naughty” bulldog eats your daughter’s soccer cleat before the big game, Prime Air could come in handy by bringing a replacement set of footwear through the air from a warehouse and setting it down in the family yard. All in 30 minutes or less, Amazon says.

“In time there will be a whole family of Amazon drones, different designs for different environments,” Clarkson says in the footage, while the drone coasts over a suburban landscape. “This one can fly for 15 miles,” he says. “And it knows what’s happening around it. It uses ‘sense and avoid’ technology to, well, sense and then avoid obstacles on the ground and in the air.”

Compared to Amazon’s first delivery drone video, released in December 2013, the new version of the aircraft appears to fly higher and seems more stable.

“Amazon Prime Air is a future service that will deliver packages up to five pounds in 30 minutes or less using small drones,” Amazon says on its Prime Air site.”Flying under 400 feet and weighing less than 55 pounds, Prime Air vehicles will take advantage of sophisticated ‘sense and avoid’ technology, as well as a high degree of automation, to safely operate beyond the line of sight to distances of 10 miles or more.”

There are a few intentional things in that statement: an early draft of the Federal Aviation Administration’s rules for drones required drones to stay within a user’s line of sight, but with this video, Amazon is perhaps trying to show that the vehicles can be flown safely at farther distances.

Mentioning the weight of less than 55 pounds is also in response to the FAA, which is currently working on its rules for registering drones that weigh — you guessed it! — less than 55 pounds.

“Putting Prime Air into service will take some time,” Amazon said. “We will deploy when we have the regulatory support needed to realize our vision.”

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