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Amazon Prime Air Makes First Customer Delivery

December 14, 2016

The drone delivery race heats up
Amazon Prime Air delivered its first customer package using an autonomous and electrically powered drone.
It seems that every few weeks we hear about a new drone delivery first, whether from Flirtey, Zipline, or Google. This week, however, the star of the show is Amazon Inc., which completed its first-ever Prime Air customer delivery on Dec. 7 in Cambridge, England.

According to the above video released by Amazon, Prime Air service delivered a bag of Proper Corn Sweet & Salty popcorn and an Amazon Fire TV Stick — well below the Prime Air drones’ 5-pound capacity. The delivery took only 13 minutes from order to drop off, which also falls within Amazon’s goal of delivery fulfillment within 30 minutes.

In terms of the drone itself, it appears as though the airframe used in previous Amazon trials has once again been updated, this time with a more traditional quadcopter design with propeller guards — much different than its boxier, more angular predecessors. The drone functioned autonomously after takeoff, guided by GPS, and remained within an altitude ceiling of 400 feet.

Amazon Prime Air is currently only offering its service to two — yes, that’s right, only two — customers. However, “in the coming months, [Amazon] will be offering participation to dozens of customers” within delivery range of the U.K. facility. And it says its drone services will be “growing to hundreds more [customers].”

With all the hype about drone delivery, it’s easy to get a little eager to have your online shopping arrive from the skies. Read a little deeper if you want to know more about the realities of drone delivery.