Want that new pair of Lularoe leggings right now? Amazon’s drone delivery service has you covered. Although delivery by drone is a relatively new concept, Amazon is forging ahead with its plans to get this fleet of high-flying messengers off the ground quickly.
Utilizing a research and development team based in Paris, France, Amazon is busy building an entire air traffic control system that assists each drone in communicating with other drones, avoiding buildings and other obstacles and keeping clear of the birds while these drones head straight from the Amazon warehouse to your house.
Choosing to base the development team in France, Amazon cites the easy access to a large selection of engineers as the reason for the decision. With an emphasis on mathematics education, Amazon has hired a team of engineers who are well-versed in both aviation and artificial intelligence.
The company is striving to create a drone system that learns from each encounter with a bird, a building, or a person and is flexible enough to account for obstacles that are temporary like a construction crane or building scaffolding. This type of air traffic control is much more complicated than the services already in use due to the low flying level of the delivery drones.
The software that is being developed by Amazon engineers is designed to be loaded into the drones themselves, making it simple for them to communicate with the control center computers and the other drones in the sky. This allows the drones to share flight information that is correct in real time, and that can change quickly as the environment changes.
The FCC has already released rules in 2016 that restrict the flight of drones over densely populated areas like cities, meaning that most drone deliveries will be restricted to more rural areas that offer less clutter in the flight path.
One of the most common types of encounters that could cause damage to a drone is with a low-flying bird. Since birds, especially geese, are known to damage even large aircraft, this problem is a huge concern when it comes to coordinating drone deliveries.
Flying at speeds up to 50 miles per hour and rising up to 400 feet into the air, the drones are able to carry almost 85 percent of the items that are purchased through Amazon. From books to clothing to toothpaste, these items are light enough that drone flight is the perfect solution for a quick delivery.
Unfortunately, avoiding birds and buildings is the most difficult portion of the drone delivery process because of the constant change in the outdoor environment.
The Amazon delivery drones are highly regulated due to the complicated flight paths that are required to deliver packages to specific addresses. This makes the control system much broader than the systems used for high-flying aircraft that land only at specific destinations.
Amazon has expressed the desire to offer 30-minute deliveries for items that are time sensitive, and the company is aware that the public will require time to accept the new systems.
Conducting drone research across the world in places like Austria, France, and London, Amazon has already accomplished drone delivery tests that are successful in rural areas. The French government has already passed regulations that control the flight of drones and even toy aircraft, making the country an excellent location for drone flight research and development.
Amazon is currently working with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the European Union in order to create a better air traffic control system for all flights in the air, including commercial airline flights. This type of research is beneficial to both drone enthusiasts and everyone who takes an airline flight regardless of the location.
Whether you celebrate the new technology or have some serious concerns regarding public safety and privacy, Amazon is moving forward with its delivery drones by utilizing the minds of mathematicians and engineers to create a safe and secure delivery network. Integrating detailed maps with real-time computer models of weather and flight patterns makes the drone delivery technology extremely complicated.
Amazon is working diligently to ensure that delivery drones avoid all of those day-to-day obstacles, including the birds that tend to tangle with airplanes.