The company releases a video hosted by “Top Gear” star Jeremy Clarkson that shows a drone that’s different from what it had two years ago when it first disclosed its plans.
Just in time to grab headlines for Cyber Monday, Amazon released a video showing footage of a prototype of the drones it is developing to deliver packages.
The video is hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, one of the stars of the BBC’s “Top Gear” automobile show who is now working on a new program for Amazon Studios. Clarkson narrates a scene in which a young girl desperately needs a new pair of cleats for an upcoming soccer match. Her parents turn to Amazon Prime Air, the drone-delivery service the company has been developing.
When Amazon first announced its drone development two years ago, it cobbled together a drone to illustrate the concept. But the company said the drones it has been developing would be quite different.
The video shows an entirely new look for the vehicles. They look a bit more like an airplane than a helicopter. Small parcels fit inside the body of the vehicle, which are then flown to customer homes for delivery.
Amazon didn’t announce a time frame for the service. Clarkson describes the scene as “a story from the not-too-distant future.” According to Clarkson, the drone will rise vertically to nearly 400 feet. He says there will be “a whole family of Amazon drones, different designs for different environments.” The drone shown in the video can fly 15 miles.
In the video scenario, a family receives a message from Amazon notifying them that the package is ready to be delivered, and a request to “make sure your yard is clear.” The drone drops off a package on a placard with Amazon’s logo on it that the family placed in its yard.
The company has been developing drone prototypes and lobbying to create public policy that will allow it to test and ultimately roll out a fleet of drones in the United States. In March, for example, Amazon won approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to test a specific drone design outdoors.
Amazon’s initial drone-delivery announcement also came the day before Cyber Monday, a move done, in part, to get its name in front of shoppers on one of the biggest shopping days of the year.