Amazon looks to make delivery drones work: Fast and convenient delivery has been the focus of many companies over the years, especially during the pandemic. However, one brand of delivery that has not seen as much success is drone delivery. Despite that, Amazon is not giving up, introducing its MK30 delivery drone in hopes of making it a reality by 2024.
Previous delivery drone failures: Despite Amazon’s dedication to delivery drones, there have been plenty of problems stopping the long-time project from seeing success. Among them are a high employee turnover rate and potential safety risks, which have slowed progress considerably.
- The same has been seen in the UK, where Amazon delivery drones also face problems that include a high turnover rate and potential safety issues.
It has been reported that the company saw five crashes in four months at a testing site in Oregon. Problems have included propeller loss and the motor shutting off. In the incident where the motor shut off, two safety features failed, resulting in the drone crashing.
- Amazon spokesperson Av Zammit declared that safety is a top priority for the company, which uses a closed, private facility for testing. He stated that they expect accidents during the rigorous testing and that there have not been any injuries because of a flight.
The MK27-2 delivery drone: There is positive news as well. Despite its past failures, Amazon is looking toward the future with its delivery drone aspirations. An example of this is the MK27-2 drone, its current hexagonal drone model.
In June, Amazon announced that the MK27-2 would be used for limited deliveries in Lockeford, California and College Station, Texas. These would be among the first US locations to experience Prime Air, Amazon’s delivery drone service.
- The plan is to have the debut occur before the end of 2022.
- The drone can carry up to five pounds at speeds of around 50 miles per hour.
- Select users will be able to have thousands of items delivered by drones in the test areas.
The MK30 is a major upgrade: While it is set to debut Prime Air with the MK27-2, Amazon has not stopped developing a better drone. The company is already planning its moves for 2024 with the MK30 delivery drone. Not only is the drone smaller and lighter, but it is capable of moving around without making nearly as much noise.
Perhaps one of the most interesting features is that Amazon is designing the new drone to withstand the elements better than its predecessor. That includes harsher temperatures and a broad range of conditions, including light rain.
Despite the improved features, the goal of the MK30 drone is the same as the MK27-2. It is set to fly hundreds of feet into the air and autonomously maneuver and land without incident. It will also have the same capacity of five pounds, even though it is lighter and smaller.
FAA approval is necessary: FAA approval is not just a problem faced by the MK27-2. The MK30 will also be required to pass rigorous evaluations, which will include evaluations by the FAA. Only by doing so will it prove itself reliable and safe enough to be used for live deliveries.
Amazon has faced significant losses: Amazon is currently looking to cut costs to the point that it might impact the Alexa AI assistant. It is unknown whether the cuts will touch Prime Air, but it cannot be dismissed entirely. That is especially so since the project has not seen many results since it started nearly ten years ago in 2013.
Competitors are ahead: While the difference might not be significant yet, Alphabet’s Wing has partnered with DoorDash to deliver goods by drone. It is currently limited to Logan, Australia, but it is definitely a positive and exciting step forward for delivery drones.