Earlier this week Amazon released actual footage of the first successful Prime Air drone delivery. While the idea is pretty futuristic, in some ways, the delivery raised more questions than it answered.
But if you’ve been under a rock and missed all the hype, allow us to get you caught up: earlier this year, Amazon began testing its drone delivery technology, known as Amazon Prime Air, and earlier this month, made its first successful customer delivery — a FIRE streaming TV device and some popcorn — in the Cambridge area of England.
If you’re looking for some insight and perspective on what this all means for your future shopping (and shipping) needs, here are 11 things you may want to know about Amazon Prime Air:
1. While there is a successful drone delivery in the books, the reality of widespread drone delivery is still far off.
For now, Amazon’s drone delivery technology is being tested on a very small scale. While the announcement of this breakthrough in logistics is excited, it could be a good decade before you’re able to use Prime Air services.
2. You will need to live within a certain radius of a Prime Air fulfillment center in order to use the service.
Prime Air fulfillment centers will be much smaller than its regular fulfillment centers and placed throughout the country. However, the drone have a travel distance limit on them. Delivery qualification will be based on the location and distance of your drone delivery landing pad.
3. Product selection will be limited to what these smaller fulfillment centers have in stock.
4. You will need a landing pad in your yard or on your roof in order to receive packages.
So you’ll still have to up off the couch, but hey, fast delivery is fast delivery. This will make it difficult for those in apartments, town homes, or cities like New York to use the Prime Air service.
5. You can expect a 30-minutes-or-less delivery window!
Yes, it’s true and no, we aren’t talking about a pizza.
6. There are weight limits to what the drone can carry
So, if you’re ordering a set of encyclopedias, you’ll be limited to more traditional delivery methods.
7. There will be different drone models
Amazon is testing a few different drone models.You can see in the images below how much the models have changed since the concept of drone delivery was first announced.
8. The demand for trucks isn’t going anywhere.
It will be years before we see a sky full of delivery drones, and even then trucks & truck drivers will be in demand.
9. Amazon’s drones are 100% automated and run on their own from launch to return
And yes, they are calibrated to dodge flying birds.
10. ‘Free Shipping’ for all could be our new reality
By eliminating the cost of human labor on these deliveries, Amazon will be able to pass down the savings in the form of free shipping!
11. Although it seems you will need to be a subscriber of the Prime Air service to reap those ‘free shipping’ benefits.
And with a subscriptions comes and annual fee. There’s talk that the subscription will work in the same manner a subscription to Amazon Prime does.