Watch: Amazon shows off the new Prime Air drone … and Jeremy Clarkson

30 Nov 2015

Amazon's new Prime Air prototype. Image via Amazon

Once considered a PR stunt, Amazon’s Prime Air drone is no longer an April Fool’s Day joke with the company taking to YouTube to show off its latest design and functionality, with help from Jeremy Clarkson.

The most distinctive change with the Prime Air from the earlier version that we can see is that its quadcopter design, similar to many commercial drones, has been ditched in favour of a hybrid design that can switch between vertical and standard flight modes.

The latter of which will see it enter horizontal flight, which will be a lot more energy efficient, after all, it will need to make Amazon’s goal of being able to cover a range of 24km at speeds of nearly 90km/h.

As Jeremy explains in his familiar drawl, Amazon are particularly proud of its work on ‘sense-and-avoid’ technology for actually delivering the product to the home in under 30 minutes or less, or at least that’s what it’s aiming for.

In the video, the Prime Air drone is shown to hover above the rather large garden of the country house (let’s see it do it in a major city) and use its sensors to locate any hazards in the area before it attempts to land.

It will then land once it sees the Amazon logo card that has been laid out by the person ordering the product and fly off again back to its base.

While it’s still very much in a developmental stage, it’s still a marked improvement on the old prototype of the Prime Air, which was a standard quadcopter that looked like it would have some difficulty in taking a package.

The new Prime Air however has a ‘bomb bay’, which will load the gift inside the craft and eject it safely on the ground.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic