SEATTLE, WA: November 30, 2015. Amazon Prime Air has announced it will deliver packages of up to five pounds in 30 minutes or less using small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) flying under 400 feet and weighing less than 55 pounds.
The company says it is testing more than a dozen sUAS prototypes at development centers in the U.S., U.K. and Israel but has no start date for the new service.
Prime Air vehicles will take advantage of sophisticated "sense and avoid" technology, as well as a high degree of automation, to safely operate beyond the line of sight to distances of 10 miles or more, says the company.
As with manned aircraft, Amazon is proposing sUAS operations should be based on capabilities: "For example, communication and navigation equipment is required for transit through controlled airspace and to gain access to certain airports." The company believes a similar model of determining access—one focused on segregated blocks of airspace below 500 feet and away from most manned aviation operations—is the best pathway for safe and scalable sUAS operations.
Amazon.com reported Q3 2015 sales ending September 30 of US$25.4 billion – up 23 percent over the same period last year. Operating income was US$406 million compared to a $544 million loss in Q3 2014 and net income was US$79 million – a turnaround from a net loss of US$437 million year-on- year.
The company reported record 'Black Friday' tablet sales for its U.S. and U.K. operations: "This has already been the biggest holiday shopping season for Amazon devices, and we're energized by the year over year growth for all of our product categories," said Dave Limp, senior vice president, Amazon Devices. "With a sub-US$50 price point for one or US$250 for a six-pack, we've reached a tipping point with Fire—it is our fastest-selling tablet ever. We've already built millions—and we're ramping up production to build millions more."