It’s a bird, it’s a plane, its—Amazon Prime?

Amazon has been quietly working on the ability to deliver packages via drone over the last few years. While this may not be surprising, as the company has been talking about the potential of a reality where packages are delivered via drone for years now, it came sooner than some expected. The e-commerce giant has officially unveiled a futuristic new drone that it says will be able to deliver packages in as little as 30 minutes.

The Sky Is The Next Frontier

Amazon isn’t the only company that’s been working on drone delivery, and the race to be the first company would clearly put any business far ahead of its competitors. Now that companies like Walmart are gearing up in the fight for e-commerce consumers by offering affordable one-day shipping on most of their products, Amazon knew it would have to be the first to deliver packages by drone in order to maintain its steady rise as a capitalist overlord  the biggest e-commerce platform in the United States.

Filling orders with a drone required more than simply making the drone, though. Since flying a drone professionally requires knowledge and abidance with FAA regulations, any e-commerce giant that wished to deliver via drone would have to create a piece of hardware that could not only fly itself, but avoid colliding with other aircrafts and comply with FAA regulations completely. Amazon’s new drone is finally able to do that, as it’s completely autonomous software is in-tune with all current and future regulations regarding air traffic.

The Drone

Before a company makes a new drone, it has to get the design itself approved by the FAA. After jumping through all of the necessary hoops, Amazon Prime Air (the segment of Amazon devoted specifically to developing better methods of delivery by air), has finally come. up with a drone that fills those needs and looks good doing it. The new drone takes off vertically, similar to a helicopter, before shifting sideways to fly horizontally.

“It has performance that we think is just incredible. We think the autonomy system makes the aircraft independently safe,” said the vice-President of Amazon Prime Air, Gur Kimchi. But don’t get too excited just yet. Though the FAA has approved the design of the product, it still has to approve it to be able to make deliveries. Amazon, and the FAA, have confirmed that they’ve been granted approval to test the drones out for a full year. However, they’re not permitted to make deliveries just yet. The drones will be tested at an undisclosed location for 12 months before the FAA will consider allowing them to make actual deliveries.

Even once (if) Amazon does manage to get approval from the FAA to start making actual drone deliveries, there will be an almost guaranteed period of time where the company will have to work out all of the kinks before they can expand to offering the service everywhere. Since no one has attempted this type of delivery service before, there are bound to be some major hurdles when it comes to safety. Check out Amazon’s footage of its new drone in action below and tell us what you think in the comments: