Home Money Amazon delivery drones won’t fly in Arizona summer heat

Amazon delivery drones won’t fly in Arizona summer heat

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Amazon delivery drones won't fly in Arizona summer heat

The fees for Amazon’s desert services could end up underscoring the natural barriers to making a solid business out of drone deliveries, at least in the absence of technological advances. “We will not accept orders when the temperature exceeds 104 degrees,” Calsee Hendrickson, director of product and program management for Amazon Prime Air, told Phoenix’s. 12News in a broadcast interview at the end of last month. “We know that will limit some of our operations in the evening hours during the summer, but you will still be able to receive your packages in the morning.”

When asked for comment for this story, Amazon spokesperson Sam Stephenson told WIRED that the company’s “plans for Tolleson include regular deliveries during the summer months so customers can shop with drone delivery throughout.” year. Any statement to the contrary is erroneous.” Stephenson did not dispute that Arizona’s summer weather would limit delivery periods.

Unique climate

Amazon met virtually with Tolleson officials a year ago to begin the process of vetting the city as a possible drone site. Tolleson’s economic development director signed a confidentiality agreement last March that prohibited the city from speaking about the discussions, according to a copy WIRED obtained through a public records request.

At a city council meeting last month after Amazon revealed its plans, Tolleson Mayor Juan Rodriguez said the company chose the West Valley city out of 1,000 options, according to to the city transcript of the session. Amazon representatives at the meeting donated $12,500 to a local nonprofit that helps fund basic relief and education initiatives and posed for a photo with a oversized checkRodríguez and other local leaders.

Proponents of drone deliveries, like Rodriguez, tout their potential to take vehicles (and the emissions and accidents that come with them) off the roads. For consumers, less than an hour from order to delivery can be an attractive proposition for items that are suddenly needed at home ASAP or to satisfy whimsical desires.

So far no organized opposition has emerged to the drone plans in Arizona. But in other communities where Amazon and other drone delivery programs have been piloted, local residents are concerned about noise pollution from the machines, along with the potential for them to become surveillance tools, although major operators say they that is not his intention.

As a Tolleson city councilman asked at last month’s meeting, the potential loss of driving jobs to flying robots may also be concerning. For now, the Amazon project will allow the company to add to its staff of 750 full- and part-time employees in Tolleson, hiring staff to monitor the four drones that could fly at once, a company representative told the council. But as the technology matures and regulations relax, so could manual oversight.

The MK30 drone for which Amazon is seeking permission is smaller and lighter than its predecessors, with more sensors and software to avoid obstacles and enter denser areas on the pre-planned routes it would fly. It can venture up to about 7.5 miles from its home base, reach a top speed of about 65 miles per hour, and soar up to 400 feet in the air. Light rain should not be a problem.

Other cities with drone deliveries have been more restrained. Weather data collected by Time and date show that daily summer highs tend to average less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38 degrees Celsius, in College Station, Texas, where Amazon has ongoing drone operations, and Lockeford, where Amazon said last month it is giving up drones . Alphabet’s Wing locations in Australia and Texas have similar climates.

Amazon has said it is considering expanding to Italyas well as a return to the UK this year after abruptly shutting down much of its project there in 2021. Scorching temperatures shouldn’t be a problem all season long in those countries either.

Rodriguez, the mayor of Tolleson, couldn’t be more excited about drones and the increase in sales tax revenue if shipping outside his city increases. “They’re pretty impressive, to be honest,” he told his fellow council members about the drones, citing his deep dive into the technology on YouTube. It looks like Amazon could have at least one enthusiastic customer, weather permitting.

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