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Though Amazon is preparing to introduce its Prime Air drone delivery service, the retail monolith is looking ahead to 2024, when it plans to use a more capable, quieter drone for urban deliveries.
A report from CNBC stated that Prime Air would launch the 80-pound MK27 drone this year. It will begin making deliveries in College Station, Texas, and Lockeford, California. The drone can’t carry anything heavier than five pounds, and its payload will be about the size of a shoe box.
With 2024 in mind, however, Amazon demonstrated the MK30 drone in Boston on November 11th. The new drone is designed to be more versatile, but it’s also supposed to be quieter. It’s roughly the same size as the MK27, but Axios reports that it “is nimble enough to make deliveries in highly populated areas such as Boston, Atlanta and Seattle.”
The MK30 can fly further than its predecessor and operate in mildly inclement weather. Additionally, Axios reports that it sports “new ‘sense-and-avoid’ safety features that allow it to operate … while skirting other aircraft, people, pets and obstacles.”
With redesigned propellers, the new drone will also be quieter. However, Axios notes that payloads will still need to be less than five pounds altogether.
While drone delivery service still seems like a novel idea, Amazon’s goals are nothing less than ambitious. By the end of the 2020s, the company plans to deliver up to a half-billion packages each year.