Amazon will make deliveries by drone 'within months'

Amazon consumer CEO Jeff Wilke

The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, May 13, 2019.

Amazon announced a new drone design at its re:MARS (Machine Learning, Automation, Robotics and Space) conference in Las Vegas, aimed at facilitating faster last-mile deliveries to consumers.

Amazon said it expects to deliver packages to consumers via drone "within months".

By the end of this year, customers in the USA and some advanced could receive Amazon orders delivered by a drone. It did not specify where or when it would test the drone.

In a blog post, Wilke wrote: "Our newest drone design includes advances in efficiency, stability and, most importantly, in safety".

"Through the use of computer-vision techniques we've invented, our drones can recognize and avoid wires as they descend into, and ascend out of, a customer's yard", Amazon said.

"It's efficient and aerodynamic - like an airplane".

"It can do vertical takeoffs and landings - like a helicopter", he said. "It also easily transitions between these two modes, from vertical-mode to airplane mode, and back to vertical mode". "This makes it more stable, and capable of operating safely in more gusty wind conditions", the company added. For instance, if the drone's flight environment changes, or the drone's mission commands it to come into contact with an object that wasn't there previously, the drone will refuse to do so, thus making it independently safe.

At the conference, Amazon also formally introduced "StyleSnap", a feature on its smartphone app that lets shoppers upload a picture of an outfit they like and get recommendations for similar items to buy. "But our objective is to have a certified commercial program that allows us to deliver to customers".

It said it would spend some $800 million in the current quarter in the effort to shorten delivery times. While 5 pounds may not sound like much, Wilke points out that between 75 - 90% of all current deliveries fall under that threshold.