Amazon testing drones for deliveries

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Amazon testing drones for deliveries

It may seem like something straight out of science fiction, but unmanned aerial vehicles that will deliver your orders of books and DVDs from Amazon is fast becoming a reality. The world?s largest online retailer released an?announcement?revealing a new delivery system called Prime Air, which their R&D team has been working on for some time.

The goal of the new delivery system is to get packages into customers? hands within 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles.

According to Amazon, Prime Air is still several years away from being available for commercial use, as the company is still developing the technology and waiting for the necessary rules and regulations from the FAA. But the company is hoping that rules will be set in place by 2015 and the company says they will be ready by that time.

According to an article featured on BBC,the aerial drones, called Octocopters, will be able to deliver packages weighing up to 2.3 kg.

Amazon Chief executive Jeff Bezos said the company is waiting on the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to approve unmanned drones for civilian use, which, along with the required time to develop the necessary technology could take up to five years before the service is ready to start.

?I know this looks like science fiction, but it?s not,? Mr. Bezos said for CBS?s 60 Minutes programme.

?We can do half-hour delivery? and we can carry objects, we think, up to five pounds (2.3kg), which covers 86% of the items that we deliver.?

The FAA has already approved the use of drones for police and government agencies, issuing over 1,400 permits over the past few years, but is yet to approve the use of drones for commercial use. It is expected that the FAA will open civilian air space to all kinds of drones by 2015, while the same could happen in Europe by 2016.

According to Dr. Darren Ansell, an expert on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) from the University of Central Lancashire, current regulations are in place to reduce the risk of injury to people on the ground.

?The UAVs do not currently have the awareness of their environment to be able to avoid flying into people. To deliver goods to people?s homes for example in residential areas, the UAVs must overfly densely populated towns and cities, something that today?s regulations prevent.?

?Other things to consider are security of the goods during the transit. With no one to guard them the aircraft and package could be captured and stolen,? he said.

Amazon, on their part, said that from a technology point of view, they would be ready to enter commercial applications as soon as the necessary regulations take place.

The company said that FAA was actively working on rules for unmanned aerial vehicles, adding that it hoped they would be allowed to kick-start the service as early as 2015.

?One day, Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today.?

Zookal, an Australian textbook rental company, announced earlier this year that it would start using drones to make deliveries from 2015 if approved by Australia?s Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Australian law allows the use of unmanned aircraft for commercial use.

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