Other announcements included a new warehouse sorting system already live in Denver, Colorado that relies on small robotic vehicles topped with miniature conveyor belts that take packages to the correct chutes for delivery.
The new Prime Air's key change is its "hybrid" design that combines the vertical take-off and precision of a traditional drone with the aerodynamics and efficiency of an airplane. Wilke, Amazon's worldwide consumer CEO, said he expects the Amazon Prime Air delivery service to grow quickly thanks to Amazon's existing delivery infrastructure.
As you can see, the craft transitions from helicopter to airplane modes during the test flight.
The drone's wings also serve as shrouds that enclose the device for safety.
"We've been hard at work building fully electric drones that can fly up to 15 miles (25 kilometers) and deliver packages under 5 pounds (2.3 kilos) to customers in less than 30 minutes", Wilke said in a blog post.
"The distinctive aircraft is controlled with six degrees of freedom, as opposed to the standard four". These drones are part of the company's Prime Air program which the company has been testing in multiple global locations through its development centers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Austria, France and Israel. Both technology development and regulations - primarily flight over people, not now allowed without a waiver, or flight over vehicles - will have to progress further to allow drone delivery in all areas.
The FAA has given Amazon a one year approval, eligible for renewal, for research and testing, though not for commercial deliveries.
When it needs to find a place to land, its AI smarts kick in and the drone will try to find a safe place to land, away from people and objects -even without any prior knowledge of its surroundings.