Amazon unveils new delivery drone prototype

Amazon has unveiled a new prototype of a delivery drone in a video narrated by Jeremy Clarkson of “Top Gear” fame, who teases a tantalizing future: shoes delivered by drone in 30 minutes or less.

The prototype is the public’s second look at Amazon’s Prime Air drone-delivery plans, two years after CEO Jeff Bezos first spoke on “60 Minutes” about them. As we wrote then, Bezos both wowed and worried when he talked about delivering packages by drone.

In the video Amazon released Sunday, the company addresses some of the concerns surrounding drone delivery: The prototype has sensors that help avoid obstacles on the ground and in the air, as well as predict a package’s arrival time. Clarkson says in the video that this latest incarnation of the drone — “a miracle of modern technology” that rises to about 400 feet and can fly up to 15 miles — is just one of many in a “family” of delivery gadgets Amazon has planned.

It’s unclear when we might see such drones above our backyards — it all depends on when Amazon and others get the green light to deliver their wares in this age of ever-expanding instant gratification. As we’ve covered on SiliconBeat and the Mercury News, Amazon and other players including Google are working with the government on drone issues. Amazon is on a Federal Aviation Administration task force that recently unveiled draft rules; and the company also is working with Google and NASA on developing an air-traffic control system for unmanned aerial vehicles.


Photo: Amazon unveiled a new prototype of a Prime Air delivery drone on Nov. 29, 2015. (Courtesy of Amazon)


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