Amazon says drones will be making deliveries in 'months'
Amazon has said that it plans to use self-piloted drones to deliver packages to shoppers' homes in the coming months.The online shopping giant did not give an exact timing or say where the drones would be making deliveries.
The online retailer said its new drones use computer vision and machine learning to detect and avoid people or clotheslines in backyards when landing.
"From paragliders to power lines to a corgi in the backyard, the brain of the drone has safety covered," said Jeff Wilke, who oversees Amazon's retail business.
Wilke said the drones are fully electric, can fly up to 24 km, deliver in 30 minutes, and carry goods that weigh up to 5 pounds (2.3 kg), like a paperback or toothpaste.
Amazon has been working on drone delivery for years. In December 2013, Amazon CEO and Founder Jeff Bezos told the 60 Minutes news show that drones would be flying to customers' homes within five years. But that deadline passed due to regulatory hurdles.
The Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates commercial use of drones in the US, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
In April, a subsidiary of search giant Google won approval from the FAA to make drone deliveries in parts of Virginia.
Wilke said that the company was working with several regulatory agencies to get approval. "We expect to do it within months," he said.
On Monday, ecommerce major Amazon also announced its plans to expand its 'packaging-free shipment' (PFS) programme, an India-first initiative, to nine cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and Nagpur.
The programme, under which orders are shipped in their original packaging without any secondary or additional packaging, will also be available in Bengaluru, Gurugram, Noida, Chennai, and Hyderabad.
"This is an India-first initiative and ties into Amazon's global 'Shipment Zero' vision... The pilot began in July last year in Bengaluru when we delivered the relevant customer orders packaging-free and received positive feedback," an Amazon India spokesperson said.