Amazon.com Inc. announced a new delivery drone design on Thursday that is more compact, quieter, and able to fly through light rain.
The company has invested nearly ten years to realize founder Jeff Bezos’ vision of free drones that can deliver a package weighing less than 5 pounds as soon as 30 minutes after a customer places an order. Drones could speed up delivery times and significantly lower the cost of delivery, which still largely depends on a person driving a car to someone’s house.
After the project was reportedly hampered by numerous malfunctions, crashes, and even fires, Amazon is said to be developing a better drone that will hopefully help steer the company’s Prime Air delivery service in the right direction. The new MK30 drone, which will enter service in 2024, is made to be quieter, further away, and easier to control.
The MK30 drone, which will replace the current MK27-2 model and start making deliveries in Lockeford, California, and College Station, Texas, this year, will enter service in 2024. According to Amazon, the new model has a greater range, can fly in a wider range of temperatures, and has new safety features.
At a press conference held outside of Boston at a robotics research and manufacturing facility, Amazon unveiled the new drone. Amazon unveiled a new robotic arm that can recognize and grab single items, potentially marking a significant advancement in its efforts to create more automated warehouses and lessen its reliance on human labor.
The development team was able to make a drone that is lighter and smaller while still being able to travel farther than is currently feasible with packages weighing less than five pounds. Additionally, they made it so that it could fly in light rain and a wider range of temperatures, which should keep deliveries going even in unpredictably bad weather.
Amazon made specially-designed propellers for this new model. According to this, the perceived noise level of the MK30 will be 25% lower than that of current drones.