It's been two years since we first heard Amazon's plans to deliver our high-priority Amazon Prime shipments via flying drone. Just when we figured Amazon must have scrapped this futuristic delivery concept, it appears that the project, called Amazon Prime Air, just got some updates. Amazon Prime Air calls itself "a future delivery system from Amazon designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less." The system hinges on drones that fly through the air and drop your order of cozy winter socks and Clif bars right at your abode. Amazon has tweaked its original drone design: Its robo-delivery vehicles are now larger and decked out in Amazon's blue, white, and yellow color scheme. The drones also aren't quadcopters anymore; they take off vertically, like a quadcopter, but then they use a rear propeller to travel forward through the air to their next destination. You can check it out yourself in the video below.
According to Amazon, its re-engineered prototype drone can fly as far as 15 miles, at speeds of 55 MPH or more. It has some obstacle-avoidance technology built in, so it won't run into birds, buildings, or other drones. And it will land to deliver your package, rather than just dropping stuff at your doorstep, stork-style. To land, the drone will look out for a particular platform (right now, the concept is that users would mark a spot in their yard with an Amazon logo). The company isn't just planning a singular drone type, but rather a family of different models for the various environments and purposes they might encounter. Unfortunately, Amazon Prime Air won't be launching anytime soon; there are still significant regulatory and logistical hurdles to overcome. But we anxiously await the day when we will be able to order shampoo without getting off the couch — or get a fresh package of paper towels delivered just as we're using up the last roll. (Okay, maybe we need to fancy up our drone fantasies, but hey, nobody ever said luxury couldn't also be practical.)