SEND IN THE DRONES
After years of talking up the buzz on delivery drones, it was only in December last year that Amazon Prime Air made its first delivery by Miniature Unmanned Air Vehicle - a Fire TV system and box of popcorn to a customer in Cambridge, England. That history-making delivery arrived just 13 minutes after being ordered, according to Amazon, and the company’s goal is to be able to deliver anything weighing under five pounds (2.26kg) and small enough to fit in a shoebox, within 30 minutes of a mouse click. The company says 86 per cent of the packages it sells fit within the weight qualifications for drone delivery. There are some caveats, of course – the quadcopter drones can only fly in daylight, in good weather; and only two customers so far registered, both near Cambridge. Beyond that, there remains the small issue that autonomous drones are illegal in the US, Amazon’s key market. It’s why Amazon’s planned warehouse in the sky remains little more than a patent. For now.