Amazon Exec: Prime Air Drones Will Be “More Like Horses Than Cars”

Amazon isn’t ready to unleash its Prime Air drones into the skies just yet (and the Federal Aviation Administration isn’t ready to let it, either) but in the meantime, company executives don’t mind talking about their plans for Prime Air.

Yahoo Tech has an interview with Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president for global public policy, where he shares more about the company’s ideas of how Prime Air should work.

Misener says the delivery service will get packages to customers within 30 minutes of ordering online. In order to do that, there are goals for the drones.

“The range has to be over 10 miles. These things will weigh about 55 pounds each, but they’ll be able to deliver parcels that weigh up to five pounds,” Misener says, explaining, “It turns out that the vast majority of the things we sell at Amazon weigh less than five pounds.”

Amazon has a bunch of different prototypes it’s working on at the moment, as different weather conditions or climates in the U.S. may mean one drone works well in one area, and another will work better elsewhere.

These aren’t off-the-shelf drones, either — Amazon is building its own vehicles with “sense-and-avoid technology.” This tech makes the aircraft more like horses than cars, Misener explains. Wait, what? Horses can’t fly.

“If you have a small tree in your front yard, and you want to bang your car into it for some reason, you can do that. Your spouse might not be happy with you, but you can do it,” Misener says. “But try riding a horse into the tree. It won’t do it. The horse will see the tree and go around it. Same way our drones will not run into trees, because they will know not to run into it.”

There are still obstacles Amazon must surmount, namely, that the Federal Aviation Administration has yet to release final regulations for commercial drones. If the technology is ready before the rules are, well, Amazon might look to the skies over other countries.

“We have customers all around the world, of course,” Misener says. “There’s no reason why the United States must be first. We hope it is.”

As for the thing we all really want to know — how much it’ll cost you to order a package of batteries to replace the ones in the TV remote — Misener says that he doesn’t know that the company has priced that out yet.

Exclusive: Amazon Reveals Details About Its Crazy Drone Delivery Program [Yahoo Tech]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.