Amazon could soon use drones to deliver medication

Amazon’s pharmacy has announced its latest venture: drone delivery. The new feature allows customers in College Station, Texas to order prescription medications through Amazon Pharmacy and have them delivered via drone within a 60-minute window.

To be eligible for this service in College Station, residents must first sign up for the program, which Amazon has named “Prime Air”, and meet certain criteria. 

For those living in single-family homes, this starts with a yard survey to make sure Amazon’s drones can securely and efficiently make their way to the intended delivery location. 

Once the onboarding process is complete, they can use the service by selecting a designated delivery marker provided by Amazon and positioning it at their chosen drop-off location.

Those living in apartment buildings can also access drone delivery, although the procedure for pickup may differ slightly. For this group of customers, eligible structures will have a dedicated drone delivery area. Once this is complete, they can start to use the service. 

Currently, Amazon’s drone delivery service offers over 500 medications. All it takes is for consumers to make their selection and opt for “free drone delivery in less than 60 minutes” during the checkout process.

How does it work?

Amazon’s drones fly at altitudes ranging from 40 to 120 meters and come equipped with an array of sensors and cameras, ensuring that they can navigate safely and adeptly, avoiding potential obstacles such as pets, people, power lines, and more. 

As the drone approaches the designated delivery spot, it conducts a thorough assessment of the area to guarantee that there are no obstructions at the designated delivery marker. If the coast is clear, the drone descends to the ground, releases the package, and then begins its return journey to the fulfillment center.

It’s also worth noting that Amazon’s drones have earned an air carrier certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration. 

“Our drones fly over traffic, eliminating the excess time a customer’s package might spend in transit on the road,” said Calsee Hendrickson, director of product and program management at Prime Air. 

She added: “That’s the beauty of drone delivery, and medications were the first thing our customers said they also wanted to be delivered quickly via drone. Speed and convenience top the wish list for health purchases.”

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