Amazon is primed to begin its Prime Air service and unveiled its dreams for the service last night in a new YouTube video.
Sacked from the BBC? Go to work for Amazon
The video that Amazon released last night was hosted or at least narrated by disgraced former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson. Clarkson along with co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May found themselves out of a job after Mr. Clarkson allegedly punched a producer on the set of Top Gear. For the BBC, that was the last straw or last nail in the coffin for the three who hosted the popular show for over a decade. Prior to the physical confrontation with the producer, the three had a number of occasions been criticized for comments deemed racist by many especially comments made about Mexicans.
But that was then, this is now and Mr. Clarkson has found a home with Amazon. Well, all three of them really, as Amazon is reported to have paid the trio 160 million pounds to front a motoring show for Amazon Prime that is currently under production. The video released yesterday, however, only features Mr. Clarkson as the “host.”
How will Prime Air and drones work for Amazon?
Firstly, the new drone featured in the video is considerably bigger and sturdier in appearance than former drones shown by the online retailer. Clarkson says that the drone is for the “non too distant future.” That future will largely be written by regulatory agencies around the world.
In the video, an actual flight rather than a simulation, the drone is loaded at an Amazon warehouse. From there it lifts itself vertically to an altitude of 400 feet before beginning its horizontal flight. The drone in the video has an apparent range of 15 miles before it needs to turn around and head back to whence it came. Amazon hopes that it will allow it to make 30 minute deliveries in a number of metropolitan markets.
And those football cleats ordered in the video arrived quite quickly. The drone found the location of the house, notified the owner’s tablet that it was approaching, scanned the area for a landing spot, dropped the package off and headed home.
The drone reached a speed of 56 miles per hour when it made the delivery.
“In time there will be an entirely family of Amazon drones, different designs for different environments,” Clarkson says.
Regulation and Prime Air
When Amazon first spoke of Prime Air, the Internet seemed to think it was a prank by the e-commerce giant. However, two years later the progress that Amazon has made is really quite impressive. Now it’s going to come down to regulatory concerns for Amazon, Google and other firms that would like to offer deliver by drone.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continues to promise drone regulations in the coming months but each day when I scan the “drone news” I’m left wondering when the coming months really means. Questions about whether or not a trained pilot will be needed to fly larger drones or whether hobbyists will have to register their drones among other issues are all up in the air until the FAA’s decisions.
An Amazon spokesperson recently told CNET, “we will deploy when and where we have the regulatory support needed to safely realize our vision.”
The need for regulations soon is of prime importance for the agency as estimates suggest that up to a million drones will be sold in the holiday season alone including a number of them on Amazon today as Cyber Monday is upon us.