We’re one step closer to having drones drop off packages at our doorsteps. On Monday, Amazon held a machine learning, automation, robotics and space exploration (MARS) conference in Florida, where the first public demonstration of the Prime Air drone delivery system in the United States took place.
According to The Verge, the Prime Air drones dropped off bottles of sunscreen for conference attendees who were gathered outside on a sunny day in Florida. While the order had obviously been set up ahead of time, the drones delivered the bottles autonomously, showing off the potential of the system to attendees. The Verge’s James Vincent managed to capture a few seconds of footage from the public demo:
Amazon has been testing Prime Air drones for years, but this was apparently the first time the drones have ever been shown off in a public space in the United States. Amazon Prime Air vice president Gur Kimchi told The Verge that this public test brings the company “one step closer to making 30-minute package delivery by drone a reality,” and confirmed that Amazon coordinated with the FAA to conduct the test.
As The Verge points out, the fact that the FAA assisted with the delivery might be a good sign for the future of the service. At the moment, autonomous drone delivery is still prohibited in the United States, but Amazon is working with regulatory bodies to make the service a reality. That said, a one-off, prearranged demo in Florida isn’t the same as a countrywide system of drone deliveries.