As you can see from the video the prototype drones look like an odd combination of a helicopter and an airplane, which according to Amazon weighs in at a hefty 55 pounds. The drones are reported to be able to carry packages weighing up to 5 pounds to distances of 10 miles or more, flying under 400 feet utilizing what Amazon calls "sense and deploy" technology as well as a high degree of automation, to safely operate beyond the line of sight.
According to the updated Amazon Prime Air website the company believes they will be able to utilize the drones to "enhance the services they already provide to millions of customers by providing rapid parcel delivery" by using the unmanned aircraft to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.
While there are currently no set regulations for commercial drone usage Amazon has been working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration to find mutually beneficial regulations that would not only allow Amazon but other companies to safely deploy drones for package delivery. The company says the service will launch once the company has "the regulatory support needed to safely realize our vision."
Other companies are also exploring drones as a new method of package delivery. Earlier this month, Walmart sought permission from the FAA to start drone testing, while Google reportedly revealed during an air traffic control convention in Washington, D.C., that it wants to launch a drone service in 2017.
The FAA has been working on creating reasonable regulations for not just commercial usage but public usage as well. On November 21, the FAA task force made its public drone registration recommendations, and instead of keeping track of each and every drone out there, it suggested registering the names and street addresses of the pilots (mailing address, email address, phone number and serial number of the aircraft are optional). The registration requirement will apply to any UAS less than 55 pounds (25kg) and heavier than half a pound (250 grams) and owners must be at least 13 years old. A parent or guardian can register for anyone younger than 13 years old.