Amazon Starts Drone Prescription Deliveries; Intros New Drone Design

Company says it can get prescriptions from pharmacy to doorstep within one hour

Liz Hughes, Editor, IoT World Today

October 27, 2023

2 Min Read
Amazon’s MK30 drone.

Amazon is testing drone prescription deliveries in College Station, Texas. 

Amazon customers living in College Station, Texas, now have a new way to get prescriptions. 

The online retailer is testing drone prescription deliveries in the town through Amazon Pharmacy, with deliveries to doorsteps within an hour for no additional cost. 

A pharmacist would load the prescriptions into the drone for delivery. 

Amazon said its drones fly at an altitude of 131 to 393 feet, allowing them to encounter minimum obstacles. They have built-in sense-and-avoid technology that uses sensors and cameras to help them navigate around obstacles. 

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

The drone camera is trained to identify objects. Once it arrives at its destination, it slowly and lowers itself, using computer vision to detect any structures or obstacles, including people or animals, that could interfere with descent. Once clear, the drone releases the package and returns to its delivery center.

Related:Amazon Drone Deliveries Set to Begin in California

“We’re making the process of getting the acute and chronic medications customers need easier, faster and more affordable,” said John Love, vice president of Amazon Pharmacy. “Rapid delivery changes the prescription delivery paradigm from days to minutes, and represents a dramatic improvement over what patients are used to.”

Amazon first piloted its Prime Air drone delivery service in June of 2022 in Lockeford, California

In January, Prime Air began making regular deliveries from test sites in Lockeford, as well as in College Station

Just last week Amazon announced it was expanding drone deliveries to Italy, the U.K. and another yet-to-be-named U.S. city by late 2024

Amazon’s Delivery Drone Gets Updated Design

Amazon also recently unveiled an updated design for its delivery drones. 

Among the enhancements, Amazon’s MK30 drone is quieter, smaller and lighter than previous models, the company said. 

It is designed to fly twice as far as previous models allowing for more deliveries farther from fulfillment centers, and it can fly in more varied weather conditions.

About the Author(s)

Liz Hughes

Editor, IoT World Today, IoT World Today

Liz Hughes is an award-winning digital media editor with more than two decades of experience in newspaper, magazine and online media industries. 

A proven digital media strategist and editor, Liz has produced content and offered editorial support and leadership for a variety of web publications, including Fast Company, NBC Boston, Street Fight, QuinStreet, WTWH Media, AOL/Patch Media and Design News.

A skilled social media strategist experienced in developing and maintaining an audience across multiple platforms and brands, Liz also enjoys sharing her knowledge and expertise to help businesses small and large.

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