Autobots, roll out: Amazon now has a transforming delivery drone


Move over Optimus Prime, here comes… Amazon Prime? Yeah, that’s not a typo, though Amazon’s newest little transformer doesn’t do anything quite as spectacular as morphing from a truck into a robot and kicking Megatron in the er… bolts. This little transformer is all about deliveries.

Amazon recently showed off its newest delivery drone at the company’s Re:MARS conference in Las Vegas. Like most other drones, it’s capable of vertical take-off and landing and yes, it actually does transform. A little. The protective housing around the six rotors sits almost horizontal for takeoff and landing, rotating a few degrees vertically once the drone reaches its flight height and begins forward movement. It’s a simple switch, but looks quite effective.

Feeling sensor-tive

It’s more than just a shifting chassis, though. Amazon Prime Air’s new delivery drone packs in a range of sensor tech to keep it safe. The robotic delivery vehicle features depth and thermal cameras, as well as sonar and onboard, machine-learning-assisted obstacle avoidance. The rotors are also fully protected, so you (or your friends, pets, or loved ones) should be safe from high-speed spinning objects at all times. You can see much of the protective elements in the drone’s demo video (below).

What we don’t get from the video is what the drone sounds like. The delightful piano overlay has replaced what’s probably at least a high-pitched buzz, possibly ascending to a whine. Which could, you know, present a problem to residential areas where most drone deliveries are likely to take place. But hey, you got your package in under 30 minutes, so it’s cool, right? Maybe include some earplugs in your next order? Or get Ford’s delivery robot to walk some to your front door?

We should soon know just what they sound like, though. Amazon wants to launch a drone delivery service “in the coming months” and we all know it’s impossible to disguise what you’re doing out in public forever. Unless you’re Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones, wearing the last suit you’ll ever wear, that is.

Source: Amazon (YouTube) via The Verge


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