Amazon One-Hour Drone Delivery Coming to Another American State, New Drone to Fly in 2024

Amazon delivery drone 9 photos
Photo: Amazon
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In a relatively short period of time, drones have changed the world we live in. First used in civilian hands as a means of entertainment and fun, these pieces of hardware have grown so diverse in scope that they are now pretty much everywhere, doing pretty much everything.
One aspect of the human world that drones are now on the verge of conquering is that of goods deliveries. Several countries around the world are presently learning to cope with the idea of remote-controlled small aircraft flying in from somewhere and dropping a package on the front lawn.

One of the companies doing this in the U.S. is mighty Amazon. As the leader of the online retailers pack, it sold stuff worth $45.9 billion last year. That's a lot of money, but it also translates into a lot of headaches when it comes to the delivery side of the business.

Back in 2022, Amazon started delivering small packages (including pharmaceuticals) by means of drones in College Station, Texas, and Lockeford, California. The service it uses for this is called Prime Air, and the tech it deployed is an alien-looking flying machine that can fly at altitudes of up to 394 feet (120 meters).

The drones, called MK27-2, fly at speeds of up to 50 mph (80 kph) and serve customers located within an area of nine miles (14 km) from where they departed. The most weight this machine can carry is five pounds (2.3 kg).

Drone delivery has a number of advantages over traditional means. The most important thing is that drones don't have to follow a set route to their destination (meaning there are no roads or air routes to follow), and that allows Amazon to deliver goods in the above areas in under an hour.

Amazon delivery drone
Photo: Amazon
The company says that so far thousands of items have been delivered this way, but the potential is there to bump that number into the millions, once the service expands to more areas. And expand it will, as Amazon announced this week it is taking its Prime Air service to yet another American state.

That would be Arizona, whose West Valley of the Phoenix Metro Area will start benefitting from drone deliveries later this year.

The move is an important one for the retailer, as it means that, for the first time, "drones will deploy from facilities next to our Same-Day Delivery site." That would be the warehouse in Tolleson which is a mixture between a fulfillment center and a delivery station.

Amazon says it is presently engaged with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and local officials as it is trying to iron out issues and be granted permission to deliver goods this way. There is no set date for when clearance will be given, but we're told it will definitely happen by the end of this year.

Strangely enough, although Amazon is bringing drone delivery to another American state, the number of areas that benefit from it will remain constant. That's because drone deliveries will stop being conducted from the Lockeford site. The reasons behind the decision, as well as the date when Prime Air will cease operations there have not been announced. We are promised, however, that more locations will be added to the drone network starting next year.

With the planned expansion in mind Amazon is also looking to improve the drone it uses. At the end of 2020 the company unveiled something called the MK30, a piece of tech a lot more capable than the one currently deployed.

Amazon delivery drone
Photo: Amazon
The MK30 promises to be quieter than the existing design (a must-have, given how these things are meant to fly over residential areas) and should cover twice the distance the MK27-2 is presently capable of reaching.

As far as capabilities go, the new drone should be able to fly in more weather conditions, including light rain (the current version needs clear weather to work). More importantly, a series of new safety features will allow it to deliver packages to homes with smaller backyards or located in more densely populated areas.

The MK30 is still undergoing testing at the hands of Amazon's test teams, taking turns in proving itself in both indoor and outdoor facilities.

Amazon hopes the tests will prove the system works and can be scaled to be used in more areas and to carry heavier loads.

To get access to the Amazon drone delivery service Americans first have to check their eligibility. Then, the company will conduct a yard survey to determine if it's safe for its drones to deliver there.

There is some work homeowners must perform to get their yards ready for Amazon's drones. The grass needs to be kept sufficiently trimmed, and all objects, including living beings, must be at least 17 feet (five meters) from the landing site. People tell Amazon's drones where to arrive by placing a delivery marker on the ground.

Amazon drones can make deliveries to apartment buildings as well, provided they have a designated delivery area.

As you might imagine, not all the things Amazon sells are eligible for drone delivery. The ones that do are marked on their respective pages with the "FREE Drone delivery within 1 hour."
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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