3D Robotics

3689605335?profile=originalFrom The Verge:

Amazon has asked the Federal Aviation Administration if it can start testing delivery drones in its own facilities in a bid to speed up the rollout of its Amazon Prime Air shipping service. The company sent a letter to the FAA this week, in which it requested the opportunity to carry out research and development on the unmanned aerial vehicles designed to carry packages to Amazon customers. Currently, if the Seattle-based company wants to test new designs for its drones outside, it has to travel to one of six FAA-approved sites dotted around the country. If its request for exemption from FAA rules is granted, it would mean the company's R&D team — which includes an ex-NASA astronaut — wouldn't need to leave the Amazon campus to trial new drones.

The retail giant has been rapidly iterating on drone technology since it announced plans for unmanned aerial delivery late last year. In April, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos said the company had already tested the fifth and sixth iterations of the unmanned aerial vehicles it plans to use to deliver goods, with the seventh and eighth being designed. In Amazon's request for exemption, it says it's now ready to test the eighth- and ninth-generation vehicles.

In the same document, Amazon offers up some details about its planned delivery drones, saying that it plans for them to be capable of travelling over 50 miles per hour while carrying up to 5 pounds worth of products. CThe request for exemption also states that drones will remain within line of sight of observers during testing, and will stop their journey and return to a specific point if their communications link is severed.

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  • Cliff, the X2 is mechanically extremely complicated.  Hard to imagine that anybody would build one at scale considering people are already generally scared off by single rotor helis.  The X2 is probably 5 times more complicated.  Collective pitch coax is not easy.

    Besides, the Eurocopter X3 is already faster.  It's already much much simpler.  It's a standard single rotor, with 2 sets of anti-torque-pusher hybrid drives.  It's actually not complicated to build at all.

  • This will work only with Rural communities. hehe

  • It will be interesting to see how they plan on dispatching multiple drones at once, as well as how they plan to execute the delivery. They'd need custom software to launch multiple drones to specified locations autonomously. Once a drone reaches it's destination, it could "loiter" until a human controller could take over for landing/delivery. There is just no way our current technology will allow for a safe autonomous delivery to residential homes. Once a delivery is made, the drone would autonomously return "home".

  • Of course don't count out hybrid quads. 20+m/s on traditional planes is more likely. And I'm surprised no one has created an X2 model R/C scale clone yet ;)

  • Developer

    Cool news, I wish them the best!

    50mph (= 80km/h or 22m/s) is nothing to sneeze at but still quite do-able.  I think a stock 3DR quad can do at least 15m/s (=33mph or 50km/h) and at AVC we've seen them reaching over 30m/s (=67mph or 108km/h).  Of course these will be bigger than a 3dr quad if they're carrying 5pounds (2.2kg) of stuff.  Anyway, fun times!

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