Amazon says new drone to take flight for package delivery in months

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Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon.com Inc’s consumer business, speaks at the company’s “re:MARS” conference on artificial intelligence in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., June 5, 2019. REUTERS/Jeffrey Dastin

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc has a new drone that will be delivering packages to customers in months, the chief executive of the company’s consumer business said on Wednesday.

The new drone takes off and lands vertically like a helicopter, is more stable than prior models and can spot moving objects better than humans can, making it safe, division CEO Jeff Wilke said at the company’s “re:MARS” conference in Las Vegas.

Wilke did not say where customers might see the drone in action, but Amazon made its first customer delivery by drone in the United Kingdom in 2016.

For years, the world’s largest online retailer has promised that packages would be landing on shoppers’ doorsteps via these small aircraft, but hype around the service has long outpaced reality. The company has worked to ensure that hard-to-see wires would not trip up its vehicles, for instance, and it has faced tough regulations limiting commercial flights, particularly in the United States.

The company’s announcement indicates its ambitions have hardly shrunk. Wilke said Amazon has been working to build fully electric drones. These can fly up to 15 miles (24 km), and Amazon is adding facilities closer and closer to urban areas. They also can carry goods that weigh under five pounds, which represent the majority of the items it sells.

Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Susan Thomas




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