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Delivery drones in action in new Amazon ad

02 December 2015 - 10:12 by Mike Price

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The first drones capable of autonomous delivery were announced by Amazon back in 2013, but now the e-commerce giant has showcased footage of the finished product in action for the first time, hinting at what customers can expect, once the Prime Air service is up and running.

In an advert featuring recent Amazon acquisition, Jeremy Clarkson, some of the drone technology is explained and shown in active service, with various facts and figures about performance capabilities included.

As well as having a range of up to 15 miles, the drones will be able to take off and land vertically, before taking on a plane-like, horizontal flight path, that is possible thanks to an intriguing hybrid design. And customers who order for Prime Air delivery via safe shopping online will not necessarily be served by an identical fleet of drones - Amazon is building different types of aircraft for different delivery jobs.

Of course, while the ad does feature a real drone operating in UK airspace, it is worth noting that this is still a prototype design and not an indication of the impending launch of Prime Air nationwide. And Amazon is still waiting on the go-ahead from the authorities to put this plan into action.

Interestingly, it looks like the UK may well be the proving ground for drone-based delivery services, both for Amazon and any of its online shopping rivals. This is because our regulations are actually a little less stringent than in the US, according to the Daily Mail.

Weighing in at almost 25 kilos, the prototype drone can only carry items weighing around 2.3kg. And the advert also talks up the advanced collision avoidance systems that have been built to prevent accidents involving this drone, although as a wider rollout draws near, there will no doubt be concerns about safety.