Amazon unveils new drone intended for fast urban deliveries

by Ana Lopez

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.

While Amazon is preparing to roll out its Prime Air drone delivery service, the retail monolith is looking ahead to 2024, when it plans to deploy a more capable, quieter drone for city deliveries.

Joseph Prezioso | Getty Images

A report from CNBC stated that Prime Air would launch the 80-pound MK27 drone this year. It will begin deliveries in College Station, Texas, and Lockeford, California. The drone cannot carry anything heavier than five pounds and the payload will be about the size of a shoe box.

However, with a view to 2024, Amazon demonstrated the MK30 drone in Boston on November 11. The new drone is designed to be more versatile, but it should also be quieter. It is about the same size as the MK27, but reports Axios that it is “agile enough to make deliveries in densely populated areas like Boston, Atlanta and Seattle.”

The MK30 can fly further than its predecessor and operate in mild inclement weather. In addition, Axios reports that it has “new ‘sense-and-avoid’ safety features that allow it to work … while avoiding other aircraft, people, pets and obstacles.”

With redesigned propellers, the new drone will also be quieter. However, Axios notes that payloads should still be less than five pounds.

While a drone delivery service still seems like a novel idea, Amazon’s goals are nothing short of ambitious. By the late 2020s, the company plans to deliver up to half a billion packages each year.

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